Kenneth Eugene Melhus, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, went home to be with the Lord at the age of 94 on Sunday, September 26, 2021 following a short illness.
Kenneth (Kenny) was born on February 13, 1927 in Clarion, Iowa to Ordean and Genevieve Melhus. He graduated from Clarion High School in 1945, and the day after graduation left for Army boot camp to serve his country in World War II. He married his high school sweetheart, Beverly (Rier) Melhus, on March 30, 1948 in Clarion, Iowa. They moved to Eagle Grove where they raised two boys, Craig and Marc, and two girls, Nancy and Denise.
Kenny began his career working for the City of Clarion followed by the M&M Livestock Company in Eagle Grove. After retiring from M&M, he worked at the Rotary Ann Senior Living Center until his final retirement in his mid seventies. Starting in 1979, he volunteered as an EMT for the City of Eagle Grove. He was also active in the Lion’s Club.
Kenny was a faithful parishioner of the United Methodist Church for over 60 years. He served on many committees and could be counted on to greet and usher almost every Sunday. He always did whatever he could to serve and especially enjoyed being a part of the annual community dinner where he always manned the coffee pot.
Kenny was a humble, gentle, kind, patient, and hardworking man. Anyone who knew him commented on what a nice person he was. His smile and laugh were infectious. He genuinely enjoyed people and loved nothing better than striking up conversations with whomever was available. He loved telling stories, especially about his early years growing up on a farm and then going off to war. He was an avid reader and kept up with all things related to agriculture, environmental issues, nature, and world affairs. He also never missed watching a University of Iowa football game or wrestling meet.
Kenny was an avid gardener which became a year-round activity for him. He poured over seed catalogs and planned his garden in the winter; started seedlings in the basement in the spring; planted, weeded, and harvested in the summer; and canned and stored the produce in the fall. “Grandpa’s” pickles were famous to his family. His garden was huge and seemed like a wonderland for his kids and grandkids to play in. If he wasn’t gardening, he was in his yard on his knees in a constant battle with the creeping charlie and crabgrass. His nemesis were the squirrels who would dig in his yard. He would trap them and release them out in the country but was convinced they would beat him back to his yard.
More than anything Kenny loved his family. He was devoted to his wife of 73 years, Bev, and their marriage will always be a legacy to their family. He loved playing with his children and then his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He so enjoyed playing catch, making bag swings, fashioning rubber band guns, or just wrestling on the floor. He was always ready to play a game with the grandkids even if it meant playing Candyland for the hundredth time.
Kenny is survived by his children, Craig (Susanne) Melhus of Eagle Grove, Iowa, Nancy (Fred) Rose of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Denise (Buzz) Ryan of Boone, Iowa, Marc (Jeannie) Melhus of Moravia, Iowa; his sisters, Yvonne (Melhus) Slevin of Sacramento, California and Jean (Melhus) Johnston of Coralville, Iowa and his brother, Lee Melhus of Clear Lake, Iowa. He has 10 grandchildren: Tina (Brian) Morrison, Brian Melhus, Andrea (Tom) Arenholz, Brendon (Lisa) Rose, Caitlin (Ryan) Powell, Allison (Christopher) Beach, Michael Ryan, Corey (Dee) Melhus, Brad (Casey) Melhus and Eric Melhus. He has 10 great-grandchildren: Ty Morrison, Ady Morrison, Chase Melhus, Jaxon Arenholz, Kenley Arenholz, Emersyn Arenholz, Maddox Powell, Aria Powell, Bennett Beach, and Lily Melhus.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Beverly, his parents, and his brother, Robert Melhus.
There will be a private family memorial for both Ken and Bev on October 16 at the Margaret Rankin Chapel at the Rotary Ann Senior Living Center. Memorials can be sent to the Eagle Grove United Methodist Church.
Dad, it was a privilege and a blessing to be your children and grandchildren.
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
We want to thank friends and the community for their overwhelming show of love and support.
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