Judith Dian (Melvin) Thornburg

July 2, 1934 ~ August 2, 2018 (age 84)

Judith Dian Thornburg, 84, a resident of Muncie and retired Ball State University professor, passed away in Fishers on Thursday, August 2, 2018 surrounded by her family.

Mrs. Thornburg was born in Gaston, a daughter of Gerald and Deloris (Clendenin) Melvin, and spent her formative years in that community. She graduated from Gaston High School in 1952, earned her bachelor’s degree from DePauw University, and later completed her master’s degree from Ball State University.

She was married in Muncie to Larry Thornburg of Farmland in 1955 and was employed for 31 years in the speech and audiology department at Ball State University, retiring at age 73.

In addition to her university career, her life was marked by activities and memberships in several organizations. She was active in Pharmacy Wives, the AOTT Sorority, Kiwanis, and served on the national board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She also participated in the Indiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ISHA). In a time when most women did not have big careers, she made multiple professional strides such as founding one of the first preschools in the nation for children with speech and hearing needs, and throughout her career always cared passionately for her work.

She was a member of College Avenue United Methodist Church for over 35 years and enjoyed her Sunday School class there.

Judy will be remembered not only for professional career, but also for her love of large family gatherings and decorating for the holidays. She enjoyed nothing more than chaotic events with loud noises and loved being surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed music, theater, Bridge, gardening and dancing. She will also be remembered as an avid reader and game player.

Surviving are her daughters Andrea (Michael) O’Quin, Lisa (Claude) Stump, Linda (Rigo) Schmelzer, Ingrid (Lennart) Ivars, Lea (Byron) Foley and Amy (Thomas Skogsberg) Thornburg; ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Mr. Thornburg preceded her in death in 2012. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by a sister and brother-in-law, Dana and Linda DeHaven .

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in College Avenue United Methodist Church.

Interment will follow in the family plot at Jones Cemetery, north of Yorktown.

The family will receive friends at the church on Thursday from 3:30 to 9 p.m., or one hour prior to the service.

The family requests memorials be directed to Alzheimer Association.

Online condolences may be left for the family in Judy’s memory at

Sheets & Childs Funeral Home in Churubusco is in charge of the arrangements.

Donations may be made to:

Alzheimer's Association
6324 Constitution Drive, Fort Wayne IN 46804

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