Obituary Listings

Melda Hamilton Bassett

July 14, 1937 February 25, 2024
Melda Hamilton Bassett
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Obituary for Melda Hamilton Bassett

Melda Hamilton Bassett, 86, passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, February 25, 2024, in Fern Park, FL. Melda was born July 14, 1937, in Peachland, NC, to Lemuel Carl and Mary Preslar Hamilton. Melda grew up in Marshville, NC. She was active at Hamilton’s Cross Road Baptist Church, a member of the Marshville High School Glee Club and the concert band.

She married Palmer Wilson Lee and moved to Raleigh, NC, where their daughter Lynda was born. From there, they moved to Asheville, NC, briefly before moving to Morganton, NC, where their daughter Cheryl was born. Melda was active in First Baptist Church and the Morganton Junior Woman’s Club. She received her AA from Western Piedmont Community College.

After moving to Gainesville, GA, Melda attended Brenau College (now University). Upon graduation with a degree in Theater and a minor in Journalism, she worked at Brenau in the Public Relations Department and as Alumnae Director.

Melda then moved to Boca Raton, FL, where she was Alumni Director at Florida Atlantic University. While there, she learned about fundraising for the university and took that knowledge to the University of Florida’s College of Agriculture. She was the first female development officer at UF, shattering the glass ceiling and making way for other females in the field. She raised millions of dollars for the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) and the Florida 4-H Foundation. While at UF, Melda met and married her second husband, Wilmer Wilson Bassett. Together they traveled the world and raised awareness for agriculture and dairy science throughout the state of Florida.

Melda was active in the international student program at UF, where she met and mentored several international students. She was a member of Gainesville Kiwanis Club, serving as president and a representative for the international convention. She was active in her church, serving as an elder and chair of the stewardship and personnel committees. She used her fundraising knowledge to raise funds for the church’s sanctuary renovation and new organ purchase.

She received the Presbyterian Woman of the Year award and was named to the Brenau Women’s College Hall of Fame.

Melda retired as Assistant Vice President of Development for the College of Agriculture after 30 years of service to UF. She continued to consult with various organizations and universities, sharing her fundraising expertise with others. She was well respected by her coworkers, loved by her friends, and cherished by her family.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am, Saturday, March 9, at First Presbyterian Church, Gainesville, FL. The family will also hold a memorial service at 11:00 am, Saturday, March 16, at Morgan & Sons Funeral Home, Marshville, NC. Please see for her memorial obituary online.

She is survived by her daughters, Lynda (Clif) Hopkins and Cheryl (Ross) Duhaime, and her grandchildren Jason (Kristen) Hopkins, Blake (Katie) Hopkins, and Olivia, Matthew, and Valerie Duhaime. She was predeceased by her husbands Palmer Wilson Lee and Wilmer Wilson Bassett, her son Crendell Wilson Lee, her parents, 11 brothers and sisters, and several nieces and nephews.

The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to the University of

Florida Foundation for the Wilmer W. and Melda Bassett Endowment

Fund. Checks should be made payable to the University of Florida

Foundation, Inc. and mailed to the University of Florida, IFAS Advancement

Office, P.O. Box 110170, Gainesville, FL 32611-0170. Online memorial gifts

can be made at this address: For more information

on memorial gifts, call the IFAS Development Office at 352-392-1975.

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