Following a five-month battle with Stage 4 esophageal cancer, Elvin Wilson Melcher, 87, passed away Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at home.
One of seven children born to Elmer and Cora (Staley) Melcher, Elvin accompanied his twin brother, Alvin, into the world on May 19, 1931 in Franklin County, Kan. They were the youngest members of the family, joining sister Mary Lou and brothers Ralph and Newell. Regretfully, Elvin never got to meet his brother George and sister Ruth Arlene, both of whom died early in childhood.
After graduating from Ottawa Senior High School in 1949, Elvin attended Kansas State University, earning an undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences in 1954. While at K-State, Elvin was a four-year member of the ROTC, and upon graduation was commissioned as an Army Reserve officer. He entered active duty in 1954 and served two years before being honorably discharged to Army Active Reserve for another six years of service.
Employed for six years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Elvin first worked with the Farmers Home Administration as a County Assistance Farm Loan Supervisor before transferring to the Soil Conservation Service to serve as a Soil and Water Conservationist.
Wishing to broaden his education, Elvin returned to college and enrolled in a variety of business and accounting classes. This led to subsequent positions as a bank examiner of state-chartered savings and loans with the Kansas State Department of Savings and Loans, and an accountant with the Railroad Building and Loan Association. When the latter business was sold and eventually relocated, Elvin resigned so as to remain in the Newton home he had established with his wife Betty (Bliss) Melcher, whom he married on June 13, 1965. While continuing on to employment with companies such as Hesston Corporation and J.I. Case, Elvin never again found the career satisfaction he had enjoyed during his time with the USDA.
Elvin is survived by wife Betty of the home; daughter Kimberly Melcher of Colorado Springs, Colo., grandson Kyle Rutschman of Hesston, Kan., and brother Lt. Col. Ralph Melcher of Lawton, Okla., as well as a several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents and five other siblings, Elvin was preceded in death by daughter Beverly (Melcher) Rutschman, son-in-law Alan Rutschman and grandson Cory Rutschman.
Visitation will be from 1p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 17 at Petersen Funeral Home, 215 N. Main, Newton, Kansas. With the family receiving friends from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the funeral home. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 18 at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, 1200 Boyd Ave., Newton, Kansas 67114. A private family burial will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Trinity Heights United Methodist Church.