Melvin Lee (Mel) Mundell, Sr.June 6, 1937 ~ September 19, 2017 (age 80)
Melvin Lee “Mel” Mundell, Sr., 80, of Garfield, passed away on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 in a motor vehicle accident outside of Tekoa. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, September 24 at Kramer Funeral Home in Palouse.
Mel was born on June 6, 1937 at Canon City, Colorado, the youngest of five sons born to Leo & Verna (Swartz) Mundell. When Mel was 10 years old, his family moved to Troy, Idaho and he attended school through his junior year of high school at Troy. He transferred to Moscow High School to graduate with the class of 1955.
After graduation, Mel worked in his dad’s sawmill until 1957 and also worked various jobs for the University of Idaho, JE Love Company and Nautical Manufacturing before beginning his nearly 24 year career as a custodian with Washington State University. He retired from WSU in 2000.
Mel married Charlotte Vancil on February 16, 1963 and the young couple made their home in Palouse for nearly 23 years before moving to the Elberton area in 1986. Mel was an accomplished carpenter and built three extra rooms at their Elberton home, projects that he thoroughly enjoyed. He also enjoyed leather tooling, screen-printing and building and repairing wood stringed instruments – including building his own guitar.
Mel was an accomplished artist and started painting logging truck doors in 1954 and also painted many signs throughout the Palouse country, including the falcon on the Palouse High School gymnasium wall. Mel also played in many local western swing bands in the area from 1956 until 1980 and was accomplished at playing the mandolin, banjo, guitar and harmonica. He played by ear but gave many people guitar lessons.
In 1980, Mel dedicated his music to Christ and, with his wife, led the worship service for 24 years until he was forced to retire from not only music, but painting as well, because of a tremor in his left arm. He later rejoined the worship team with his harmonica. Mel was also a Trustee and Elder at the Garfield Christian Church for several years and wrote many gospel songs, lyrics and poems.
Mel is survived by his wife, Charlotte, at the family home in Elberton; daughters Veronica Mundell of Atascadero, California and Marti (Brandon) Reese of Garfield; son Melvin “Sonny” (Kim) Mundell, Jr. of Moscow as well as two granddaughters and one grandson, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and four brothers, including one stillborn.
Memorial contributions in Mel’s honor are suggested to any cause that betters the communities of Garfield or Palouse.
Kramer Funeral Home of Palouse is caring for the family. You are invited to leave online condolences at www.kramercares.com