Fondly called “Issie,” she was born Aug. 4, 1921, in Westminster, S.C., to the late Eugene and Mae Jessie Holden. She was educated in the public schools in Westminster.
Isabell was a member of the Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church where she was a member of the Flower Club, Steward Board and the Senior Choir. In 1962, she was a Den Mother for the Cubs Scouts, volunteered at the 14th Street Community Center and was a member of the Portsmouth High School Trojans' Mothers Club. Isabel was employed at Sears in Portsmouth, Ohio, and Holton-Arms Girls' School in Washington, D.C.
Izzy loved to cook, sew and was a master at solving puzzles. She liked good food which had to be the best. If the food wasn't good, she would let you know! Her favorite meal was breakfast consisting of tomatoes, creamed gravy with grits, bacon and sometimes pancakes.
She leaves to cherish her memory her children, Edna Jean Harris, of Durham, N.C., Maxine Shumate, of Columbus, Ohio, Gail Greene (Larry), of Portsmouth, Ohio, and Roger F. Melvin (Deborah) of Durham, N.C.; two sisters, Josie Grills, of Culver City, Calif., and Myra Forrester. of Silver Spring, Md.; one brother, Harold Holden, of Las Vegas, Nev.; grandchildren, Augustine Cofield (Phillip), Keith Shumate (Kim), Starr Dowling, Diane Rupprecht (Todd), Leon Burketh Jr. (Sheryl), Monica Mosley (Ronald), Michele Harris, Jeremy Bass, A. Jerome Bass, Hugh Harris Jr., Roger F. Melvin II, and Ashraf Greene; sisters-in-law, Pauline Taylor, Barbara Hall, and Carol McNeal; 16 great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Isabell was preceded in death by her first husband, Edgar Walker, and her second husband, Finis Melvin; four sisters, Margaree Gilbert, Hattie Ruth Lone, Minnie Mae Gilbert, and Etta Robinson; two brothers, Luke Holden and Floyd Holden; a daughter, Jean P. Burketh; a grandson, Trevor Shumate; and a great-grandson, Anthony Melvin.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007, at Allen Chapel AME Church with the Rev. Kathleen Wright officiating. Burial will be in Scioto Burial Park in McDermott. Visitation will be Friday from 7 to 8 p.m. at the F. C. Daehler Mortuary Company in Portsmouth and Saturday one hour before the service at the church.