Natalie Ingalls Mealer
Natalie Ingalls Mealer, born October 22, 1927, in Worchester, Massachusetts passed away peacefully on January 23, 2023, at the age of 95.
Natalie and her two sisters grew up during the Great Depression and learned to live well on very little. She sewed all her own clothes and was nominated best dressed of her 9th grade class. She played varsity basketball and field hockey in high school and was in the glee club. During the summers she worked away from home. One summer she worked 14-hour days as a dishwasher at a boys’ camp in Vermont. Other summers, she was a waitress at a dude ranch in upper New York State. One year she used her entire summer earnings, $30, to buy a Victory bike, the only kind available during war years. After high school, she attended Green Mountain Jr. College, an all-girls school in Poultney, Vermont. She played field hockey and sang in the college glee club, and waitressed summers at a lobster restaurant in Maine. After junior college, she attended and graduated from Indiana University with a major in Art. Post-graduation, she worked for several years as a delineator for Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, creating finished pen and ink drawings of aircraft parts.
After a few years, Natalie quit her job and followed her boyfriend across the country to California to live in a YWCA. After only a few months, her boyfriend decided to move to Australia. Natalie then became active in the Sierra Club. She met a man there, her future husband Loyal Mealer. After only a couple of outings, they became engaged and were married by a justice of the peace only three weeks later. The young couple settled on the family farm in the Sacramento Delta, near Walnut Grove, California, where they lived for 43 years, raising two daughters and two sons. Over the years, Natalie taught cake decorating and Bunko Embroidery classes. She became a Ham radio operator, WA6QVM, to join her husband and son Loyal, who were already Ham radio operators.
In 1997, they sold their part of the farm and moved to Lodi, California. Loyal and Natalie had been married for 45 years when he passed away three years later.
In 2007, Natalie followed her daughters in a move to Oregon. She loved to walk in the park and chat on a regular basis with her Ham radio friends. She painted many oil paintings, which she hung around her new house. She was an avid crocheter and knitter and made more than 70 blankets and as many as 150 sweaters over the years.
Natalie is survived by her younger sister Pat, and her four children, Cynthia, Loyal, Shelley and Robert. She was a much beloved Nana to her nine grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. A celebration of her life will be held later in the spring.