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Melvin N. Bennett, 73

Melvin N. Bennett was born in Valentine, NE, and lived the rancher life until he signed up for the US Navy at age 18, in 1968. Mel died suddenly at the VA Medical Center at the age of 73.

He was proud of his service in the Navy during the Vietnam conflict. He was part of the River Assault Flotilla One, "Brown Water Navy", as an E3 engine mechanic. He received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Mel was a life-long mechanic, especially heavy equipment. During his working career he worked in many mines and the Colorado Department of Transportation from which he retired. This hard labor took a toll on his body leading to a nickname "Bionic man" for all the body part replacements. During retirement he rebuilt three VW bugs and his pride, 1954 Ford Truck. Mel enjoyed riding his Harley, camping, and the family travel adventures. He and Karen shared many stories of their trips to Galapagos Islands, Panama Canal, Lake Louise Canada, Copper Canyon Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska and many National Parks along the way. His favorite was all the different zip lines.

Mel will be missed for his pure white beard, sense of humor, "cantankerous" attitude, and neverending support to his family. "I just want to get it done". Then he could immerse himself in the most recent book.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Karen; sons, Johnathan of Grand Junction; Curtis (Chad) of Denver, and Dustin (Donnae) of Denver. He was especially proud of his grandchildren, Jacob, Nathan, and Olivia of Fort Collins, and Breonna of Grand Junction. He is also survived by sister, Donna Rae, Nebraska; brother, Steve, Wyoming; sister-in-law, Valerie (Richard), Wyoming; many nieces and nephews, and his veteran buddies and friends.

Services were at the Veteran Cemetery off Dl/2 Road on Monday, August 5, 10:00 a.m.

Fellowship lunch followed at the VFW at 503 1/2 Florence Road.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the military organization of your choice.

Ainsworth Star-Journal

921 E. 4th St.
P.O. Box 145
Ainsworth, NE 69210
PH: (402) 387-2844
FAX: (402) 387-1234

Valentine Midland News

146 W. 2nd St.
P.O. Box 448
Valentine, NE 69201
PH: (402) 376-2833
FAX: (402) 376-1946

Gregory Times-Advocate

119 E. 7th St.
P.O. Box 378
Gregory, SD 57533
PH: (605) 835-8089
FAX: (605) 835-8467