September 11, 2013
Mel Gomke at last made it all the way up the tunnel to the light, on Sept. 9, to be with his Lord.
His Memorial Service will be 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, at Van Orsdel United Methodist Church, with Pastor Marvin Eldridge officiating.
A fellowship luncheon will be held at the church immediately after the service. Memorials in Mel’s honor may be made to establishing a future campsite in the Bear Paw Mountains or to a charity of one’s choice. Services and arrangements have been entrusted to Holland & Bonine Funeral Home.
Melvin Arthur Gomke was born in Havre on Feb. 22, 1942, to Leona (Kramlich) and Christ Gomke. He attended school all 12 years in the same building in Kremlin. He played basketball and football with the Kremlin Foxes.
He enjoyed sports as a spectator and a Babe Ruth coach. Mel spent many Sundays watching football with his three sons and was a lifelong Yankee fan. Mel was always a farmer at heart but not in practice. He worked various farms as a teen and started adulthood as a grain elevator man. In 1963 he went to Pendroy to be a grain buyer and then to Williams for the G.T.A. company. He enjoyed that country and made many good friends there, then returned to the Hi-Line in 1966 to become a grocer. He drove delivery trucks, booked after hours for farmers and eventually started Mel’s Building Service. As a grocer, for 22 years Mel’s Food operated in Kremlin. When the economy of Kremlin changed, the inventory and equipment moved to the south end of Havre and for 18 years was the neighborhood grocery.
In 1963, he married Judi Holsapple and she followed his dreams. He always had a plan going in his head about a new project, energy-efficient houses, a greenhouse, flowerbed and a cabin. Mel has three sons that he felt were his greatest achievement. He taught them the value of money, a work ethic, how to do house repairs and the importance of family. His nine grandchildren were the joy of his life.
Mel was Kremlin’s Fire Chief for 22 years, was chairman of the Kremlin United Methodist Church board, a member of the Kremlin Water Board and a member of the Hill County Park Board. He built a cabin in Beaver Creek Park where there were no trees so he could lovingly make the yard of his dreams. He enjoyed fishing with his sons, buddies and grandchildren. When they all gathered at the cabin, he said it was his piece of heaven on earth.
Mel was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Ann Beattie, Frances Bitz, Irene Swartz and Ellanora “Red” Larson; and good friend, Bob Swinney.
Survivors are his wife of 50 years, Judi; and sons, Bill (Debbie) Gomke and children, Chris, Josh and Aaron of Charlestown, W. Va., Tim (Debbie) Gomke and children, Justin and Tanner of Chinook, and Matt (Sierra) Gomke and children, Hailey, Cody, Abby and Madison of Sheridan, Wyo. He leaves a sister, Alma Klobofski of Havre and brother, Don of Kremlin.