Thomas George Melin, age 72, passed away September 28, 2019 at the Billings Clinic Hospital from illnesses related to Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), attributed to his exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam.
Tom is survived by his beloved wife, Rosalie (Dotson); siblings, Mick (Cheryl) of Ashland, MT, Pat Moore (the late Rosie) of Declo, ID, and Judy Moore Bown (Brent) of Salt Lake City, UT; brother-in-law, Dan (Ellie) Dotson of Salt Lake City, UT; sister-in-law, Carol Dotson Berry (Dennis) of Frederick, CO; children, Richard (Jamie), Jess (Kelli) of Livingston, MT; Michael of Dillon, MT; Mark (Elena) of Colorado Springs, CO; Angela Hunsaker (Jex) of Meridian, ID; 19 precious grandchildren; loving nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Viewing and visitation will begin at 8:30 A.M. Friday, October 4th, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 110 W. Summit Street. The funeral service will begin at 10:00AM, burial will follow at Shorthill Cemetery in Paradise Valley, where Veterans’ Honors will be presented. A late luncheon will then be held at the church’s cultural hall at approximately 1:00PM.
Tom was a lifetime resident of Park County, born at the Chico Hot Springs Hospital July 22, 1947; a 4th generation Melin to live in Paradise Valley. He was the first son of George Niles Melin and Mae Blanche (Kinkie) Melin. George passed away when Tom was 3 years old, and his mother remarried (Parks Moore) and moved her boys to Clyde Park. Tom has 2 younger brothers – Michael Walter Melin (Cheryl) of Ashland, MT, and H. Patrick Moore (the late Rosalind) of Declo, Idaho; and 1 sister – Judith Anne Moore Bown (Brent) of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Tom started school in Emigrant, walking from the Emigrant Store and Post Office along the railroad tracks to the one-room schoolhouse. He continued school in Clyde Park, and graduated from Clyde Park High School (now Shields Valley High) in 1965. He attended the Church College of Hawaii (now BYU-Hawaii) 1965-1967.
On September 1, 1966, Tom married his Clyde Park schoolmate and sweetheart, Rosalie Dotson in Livingston. She returned to Hawaii with him to attend his second year of college, and they were sealed in the Laie Temple that following year.
Tom joined the Army under the Warrant Officer Training Program the summer of 1967 to become a helicopter pilot, which was not easy for a left handed person. After one year of training he was assigned to serve in Vietnam for a year--November 1968-69. After his tour in Vietnam, he was transferred to Peden Barracks in Wertheim, Germany, and the 351st Helicopter Company. He and Rosalie welcomed their first child, Richard Thomas (1971) there, where Tom rose to the rank of Captain in the Army. Electing to be “rifted” out of the Army rather than change careers in the Army, Tom and Rosalie moved back home to Clyde Park. They bought a whole city block of land down by the grain elevators and set up a new mobile home, which would be their home for the next 5 years. During this time, sons Jess Aaron, (1972), and Michael Scott (1975), joined the family.
The fall of 1975 they sold their place in Clyde Park, moving into Livingston. They lived at the Mission Ranch Bunkhouse for a few months before buying a house on D Street. They then built a house on Sunrise Drive in 1977, and a fourth son, Mark Ammon, was born in 1978. In 1982 they moved to a house on Robin Lane, where they lived for the next 31 years. Angela Marie (1983) was born while living there. Their current residence is in beautiful Paradise Valley and was the home of Tom’s grandparents and great-grandparents. Their “Diamond Bar Seven Ranch” was Tom’s dream place to live. His great grandfather, Ole Melin, passed away on the very property he and Rosalie now own.
Tom became an apprentice carpenter with Martel Construction Company in Bozeman after his military service, eventually becoming a master carpenter which served him well the rest of his life. In 1980, Tom decided that construction was too seasonal and too hard on his body, so he became a licensed insurance agent. He built the Melin Agency, now Big Sky Insurance, from the ground up. He was a careful and diligent agent that looked after the needs of the clients and the integrity of the companies he represented. Many times he repaired a roof, or door, or siding for his insurance clients, either because the claim would not meet their deductible, or they couldn’t afford to hire someone to fix the problem. His integrity as an agent built a successful business and many cherished relationships. After 33 years, Tom and Rosalie sold the agency to their son, Richard, in 2013.
Tom served on the Livingston School Board and coached his children in T-ball and baseball for many years. He served as a BSA Scoutmaster for 12 years, where he blessed the lives of dozens of young men in Troop 524. He also served on the Water Board for the Paradise Valley Irrigation Ditch and volunteered much of his time in the community through Kiwanis, The Senior Center, and The Food Pantry. Tom was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served in many positions in the church – teacher and seminary teacher; Bishop of the Livingston Ward in 1978-1983, Second Counselor in the Bozeman Stake Presidency 2001-2005; Billings Temple Ordinance worker 2005-2014; Full-time missionary in the Independence Missouri Mission 2014-2015; Second Counselor in the Billings Montana Temple Presidency 2015-2018. Tom cherished the time he got to spend serving the Lord with his sweetheart, both in Missouri and in the temple. His grandchildren fondly remember meeting him in the temple baptistry chapel and receiving counsel and hugs from Grandpa in that sacred place. He taught his children and grandchildren by example that hard work and serving others is the source of physical and emotional health and true joy. His life exemplified the truth that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).
Quotes Tom wrote in his scriptures:
“Those to whom we say farewell, are welcomed by others. When death overtakes us, all that we have is left to others; all that we are, we take with us. Be of good cheer about death, and know this of a truth: that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.”
“Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure in life.”