Obituary of Melvin F. Mead
On Thursday, June 8,2023, Melvin passed away at the age of almost 97. His birthday was 18 days away. Mel is survived by his daughter Nancy and her husband Gary Wolgamott, his grandson Corrigan and his wife Ruth Clay, and five great grandchildren. Mel’s wife,Carol preceded him in death April 9, 2017. His son David passed away in 2002. Cameron Clay, Mel’s first grandson passed away in 1994. Mel also had three younger siblings who preceded him in death.
Mel was born June 25,1926 in Roseburg, Oregon. (He had the perfect birthday, exactly six months from Christmas.) A fourth generation Oregonian, his maternal great grandfather, Jacob Coon was an early Oregon Trail pioneer crossing the plains from Ohio in 1845. This fact perhaps sparked Mel’s great interest in Oregon history. Mel taught a Oregon History class at Sheldon Park Assisted Living for many years. He cancelled his class one week before his death.
Mel was raised in Southern Oregon, Ashland, then Medford and Klamath Falls. When World War 2 started, December 7, 1941, Mel’s family moved to Oregon City and he and his parents went to a War Production Training Facility and learned arc welding. His father had been trying to support the family of six on a $40 a month WPA job. Jobs were plentiful at the shipyards in the Portland area. Working all breaks in the shipyards, welding Navy ships, Mel completed his junior and senior years of high school at Oregon City Senior High. Upon graduation Mel enlisted in the Navy. After boot camp he was sent to a fifteen month series of schools learning aviation electronics. Following the completion of the training, Mel was asked to teach electronics for the Navy. His service commitment ended in June of 1946. That fall he started working on a degree in journalism at the University of Oregon.
On Wednesday, October 9th, 1946 Mel met Carol O’Brien. They were on a blind date. He called that day “ the luckiest day of his life.” They were married 10 1/2 months later. Mel and Carol were happily married for 69 1/2 years. They traveled extensively. Both loved camping, backpacking, cross country skiing, square dancing, attending Eugene Symphony, attending Duck Games and gardening together. They hosted several small groups from their church. They were both very active in Kiwanis Club.
After graduating from the U of O, Mel took a job working as a district executive for the Boy Scouts Central Washington Area Council in Yakima, Washington. A couple of years later Mel and Carol took a teaching positions at The Dalles High School where they taught for three year. They moved to Eugene in 1957 and began teaching for District 4J. Mel and Carol attended summer sessions at the University of Oregon completing their Masters degrees. Mel went on to complete the course work for a PhD. (minus a dissertation) needed for his Superintendent certification. In 1976 he was asked to step in as superintendent of the Lane County E.S.D. Nine years later he retired.
A longtime member of the Eugene Gleeman, Emerald Empire Kiwanis Club, Oregon Trail Boy Scout Council, The Salvation Army Board and Northwood Christian Church Board, Mel loved staying active and serving others.
Mel loved life. He loved telling stories and adored children. Watching the playground from his assisted living room always made him smile. Visits from children from his church and two of his great granddaughters were his most cherished visitors.
Mel will be missed by his many friends and family. His ashes are interned at Mustgrove West Lawn Memorial Park at 225 S. Danebo Ave., Eugene, Or. 97402 alongside his wife Carol’s and Son David’s.
Memorial contributions can be given to Northwood Christian Church building fund (2425 Harvest Lane Springfield Or. 97477) or a charity of your choosing.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Melvin Mead, please visit Tribute Store