Melvin D. Zwolle

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Melvin D. Zwolle of North Pole, Alaska, passed peacefully to Jesus on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, at home with family by his side. “Mel” is survived by wife Cheryl Cochran-Zwolle, son Michael Zwolle, daughters Rosalie McFadden and Melodie Nicholson, and son-in-law Bart McFadden. He’s also survied by his beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Kallie McFadden, Trevor McFadden, Katelund McFadden, Christa Masters, Zackery Zwolle, David Zwolle, Jada Nicholson, Jasmin Nicholson, Kameron McFadden, Joshua Hiltunen, Holley Hiltunen, Bryxton McFadden and baby George McFadden.

Mel was born July 5, 1940 to Peter Zwolle and Esther Turner-Zwolle in Lewistown, Montana, where he later met and married his wife, Cheryl, on Sept. 19, 1964. In his early years, Mel worked as a rancher, mechanic, construction foreman, homebuilder and “holly-plucking-punkin-thunker.” In 1974 he joined Operating Engineers Local 302 in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Mel fell in love with Alaska, where he and his wife raised their family. For two decades he worked on the North Slope as a heavy equipment mechanic on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Since retiring in 1990, he enjoyed time with family, hunting and fishing, and traveling with Cheryl. Mel spent summers fishing in Prince William Sound on his boat, the “Running Bare,” and hunting at Boulder Creek and up Good Pasture River. He cherished his time at Tent City with dear friends, where his cup still hangs with those who passed before him: Tom Smith, Denny, Papa Louie, G.B. and Ken Follett.

Winters, Mel and Cheryl traveled south to spend sunny days with their many friends and family in Nevada, Arizona, California, Montana, Oklahoma and other states. Mel was a member of the Moose Lodge in Lewistown, Montana from age 21 until he transferred to the Lodge in Alaska, first in Fairbanks and then in North Pole. In the Lodge he enjoyed socializing and donating halibut for an annual fundraising dinner.

Mel was predeceased by brother Peter-John Zwolle, brother Donny Miller and sister Marcella Jean. He is survived by his siblings and extended family in Montana: brothers Kenneth Dale Miller and Pietr Zwolle, sisters Marjorie Miller, Linda Berry, Charlotte Gray, Debbie Pallet, sister Cheryl Rae of Wyoming and many cousins and nieces and nephews in both Montana and Oklahoma. Melvin is also survived by his Aunt Gladys Turner-Roberge and Uncle Dwaine Turner. On his wife’s side, Mel was predeceased by his brothers-in-law, David Cochran and Ron Messman, whom he regarded as dear friends, and father-in-law Clayton A. Cochran. He is survived by sistersin-law Becky Messman, brother-in-law Clayton E. Cochran, mother-in-law Helen Cochran, and nieces and nephews in Montana and Colorado.

Mel was a quiet man of great character and will be missed by many. A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, July 12 at 1 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, 512 W. Broadway, Lewistown, with refreshments to follow at the church. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Central Montana Food Bank.

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