The Rev. Melton E. DeFries Sr., 69, of Jonesboro died July 18, 2006, at St. Elizabeth's Place. Born at the Macey-Monette Community, he lived in Florida and California before moving to Jonesboro 11 years ago.
He was a retired minister of the Nettleton United Methodist Church for five years and a retired pilot for the Navy and Marine Corps, where he received many honors including the Vietnamese Air Gallantry Cross with Bronze Wings, Vietnam Service Medal with five stars, cross of Gallantry with Palm and Star, Combat Action Ribbon, Expert Rifle, United National Civil Action Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Navy United Commendation (2) Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, Bronze Star with Combat "V", Republic of Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, USMC Good Conduct Medal, Sharpshooter Pistol, Air Medal with Bronze Star and (19) Strike Flight Medals.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Melton H. and Frankie Harrell DeFries, a sister and a brother.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Alice Nuckles DeFries, of the home; a son, Tony DeFries of Pensacola, Fla.; two daughters, Teresa Fazzare of Placentia, Calif., and Rene Schutt of Naples, Italy; a stepson, Dr. Charles Nuckels; a stepdaughter, Claire Osment; a brother, B.J. DeFries of San Jose, Calif.; two sisters, Glyva Jo Grady of Pangburn and Phyllis McGoldrick of Sierra Madre, Calif.; and seven grandchildren.
Burial was 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the Macey Cemetery at Monette with Emerson Funeral Home of Jonesboro in charge.
A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Paul United Methodist Church at Jonesboro. Officiating were Revs. John Soward, Patty Soward, Bonnie Sutton, Wayne Johnson, Jimmy Anderson and Rex Darling, district superintendent.
Active pallbearers were Carl Guthrey, Birchard Roberts, Bob Ruff, the Rev. Jimmy Anderson, the Rev. Wayne Johnson and Fred Sitz.
Honorary pallbearers were the members of the covenant class at St. Paul United Methodist Church and all United Methodist ministers.
The family requests anyone wishing to leave a lasting memorial consider the St. Paul United Methodist Church, 2201 South Culberhouse, Jonesboro 72401.
To sign the online guest book, log on to www.emersonfuneralhome.com.