A Mass of Christian Burial for Melba Masson Ackel will be celebrated at 2:00 pm Sunday, February 23rd at The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church with her nephew Rev. Craig Scott and Rev. Blake Deshautelle officiating. Entombment will follow at Catholic Cemetery Mausoleum in Natchitoches. Visitation will be from 5 pm – 7 pm on Saturday, February 22nd with a 7 pm Rosary at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home. Mrs. Ackel left this earth to be with the Lord on February 18, 2020, at The Courtyard of Natchitoches. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Melba lived 92 years to the fullest and felt that her greatest accomplishment, as an only child, was to have raised a large, loving Christian family. She instilled a love for God and for each other in all who had the honor of calling her “Mama” or “Grammy”. Mrs. Ackel was born on January 19, 1928, in Cloutierville, LA to Ernest “Buddy” Masson and Isabelle “Becky” Russell Masson. She grew up in Cloutierville and graduated from Cloutierville High School in 1944 as Valedictorian. She then attended Women’s Business School in Shreveport, LA. Her first job was with Avoyelles’s Wholesale in Alexandria as a bookkeeper for WWII Ration Stamps. She continued working for Avoyelles in Natchitoches. After moving to Natchitoches, she met and married John Latief Ackel in May of 1947. Melba worked at Peoples Bank and Trust Company in Natchitoches as head bookkeeper until the birth of her first child. In later years, Melba worked alongside Latief in the family business, Ackel Brothers Store. Mrs. Ackel was a devout Catholic and a faithful parishioner of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church where she served as an Eucharistic Minister. She was also a member of Catholic Daughter Court Regina Pacis #1372, where she was named Catholic Daughter of the Year in 1988 and again in 2007; a Pink Lady at the Natchitoches Parish Hospital and Courtyard of Natchitoches until the age of 89. Mrs. Ackel was also a member of the Thursday afternoon Rosary group, which she loved to host in her home. She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 52 years, Latief Ackel, her father and mother, Ernest “Buddy” Masson and Isabelle “Becky” Masson. She is survived by her two daughters, Rebecca Ackel Lavespere and husband Sonny and Martha Ackel Murphy and husband Pete; two sons, John Ernest Ackel and wife Donna and Philip Anthony Ackel and wife Pauline; her grandchildren, Aimee Lavespere, Ashli Ackel Plemmons and husband Britton, Evan Kyzar, Abe Ackel and wife Kaylee, Hillary Ackel Bodden and husband Dillon, Logan Kyzar, and Madison Ackel; as well as her great-grandchildren Jackson and Olivia Plemmons and John Luke Bodden. Honored to serve as pallbearers are Evan Kyzar, Abe Ackel, Logan Kyzar, Britton Plemmons, Dillon Bodden, and William Ackel. Honorary pallbearers are Melba’s first cousins, Clyde Masson, John (Yonnie) Masson, and Douglas Bordelon. The family extends sincere gratitude to the staff at The Courtyard of Natchitoches, especially Anne Washington and Shirley Calhoun, the ICU Nurses of Natchitoches Regional Medical Center and to our special Angel, Ashley Blake. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.