March 10, 1933 – January 19, 2022
Mel Major passed away January 18th, 2022 at home suddenly, in peace though maybe a little surprised (as to himself). He was only 88, still mowing his lawn or shovelling snow right to the end.
The loss is felt by all us who remain. Born in Vernon he grew up in the nearby village of Lumby which shaped his perspective on life. A hamlet of hard workers with its roots in logging, farming and the outdoors, honest, loyal and neighbourly folks.
Many his peers have already passed and most of his nuclear family. Gone before, parents John and Sadie, brothers Gordon, Howard, George and Edwin, sister Edith.
All of them characters in their own way. The tales of imaginative practical jokes, epic card battles, water fights and Mel being a foil to the local constable mostly talked about in the beyond. Something youngest brother Harold will fondly remember him in his pits while he raced stock cars at Tillicum raceways and his bro’s two toned 56 Mercury. Mel loved his automobiles and there were lots of classics, starting with the Mercs and ending with the Caddies and everything else in between.
All told their own short story, all were immaculately cared for and seemed as pristine when they moved on as the day, he bought them. So much so that dealers would often call and ask him if he would ever consider selling.
Probably to recover some pride, for when they sold them, they received the lowest commission ever and some had had to throw in a set of winter tires. Mel LOVED a bargain.
Mel was careful with money but spent as much as he could on those he cared for. He liked old fashioned quality and only embraced modern technologies as the perfect gift. Christmases were special and birthdays were never forgotten in all the chapters of his life.
Mel left school, started working young and had a variety of jobs. He settled in a career with the Department of Highways where his versatility allowed him to wear many hard hats. As a youth Mel was athletic and sports were one of the themes that post marked most of his life. There was hockey, baseball and fast pitch. (He was an orthodox chucker of some lore).
His sports endeavours tapered when family life ensued. He was married three times. First to Norleen (nee Tatlie) son Dale came along. Norleen (recently passed) took another path.
With Dale in tow Mel remarried Audrey (nee Hounslow, now Downs), Dale’s real mom, Keith and Bruce followed. Mel’s sons were educated in doing things the right way, but more so that you can always be kind and helpful.
Mel was stubborn, opinionated, steadfast and bafflingly just the opposite. We got the first taste of our father’s biting sarcasm but always humorous. Family life revolved around sports and education. Us boys played everything; soccer, golf lacrosse, baseball, hockey and more.
Our father was always an involved parent and even more involved coach and manager. With more than a few championships and paths created. A lot more kids got a taste of our father’s sarcasm and playful teasing.
In the next chapter of his life us sons found our paths to our father’s contentment. Mel’s second wife Audrey went another way and our father married for a third time to Linda (nee Dick/ Martel). We all got another mom and the clan expanded with stepsons Larry (Kathy), Lamont (Pauline) and stepdaughters Giselle (Pierre) and Theresa (Mike). Keith married Sharyl and Bruce married Kristen.
All these children brought 13 grandchildren into Mel and Linda’s lives. Keith had James (Lauren) and Cale (Kat), Bruce had Micheal, William, Matthew and Tommy. Larry had Ryan, Connor and Brenden. Giselle had Elizabeth and Alex (Andrew). Theresa had Nathan (Lee) and Matthew.
It’s all complicated, but all the more targets for Papa Mel’s playful teasing and endearing involvement. In the last chapters of his life with Mel retired and Linda being a mobile hairdresser for a few years more, Mel moved into the outskirts of Coldstream transformed a modular unit into a wonderful home. They could sit on the deck, watch the changing colours of Kal Lake, look up to the Star, or marvel at the quail and the weave of their chicks in tow.
Linda could read her books, Mel could putter in the yard and garden, neighbours could be thrown a wave, flashed a big smile or stop by for a chat. He could lend his time or expertise with a tool just right for any job. More so there was always a spare bedroom for a quick visit or lengthy stay.
For those who want to sort out any aspect of their life, this extended to family and beyond extended family, from Black eyed Susan’s to Red headed Roses and Violets of any genus.
The soundtrack to his life was always classic country with a little Elvis gospel mixed in. Rest in peace Husband, Dad, Uncle and Papa Mel. Your beloved pets, who loved you more, Misty, Christie, Trixie, Brandy (Brando) and even Niko, the neighbour’s Shetland Collie, await in the heavenly fog and Mia’s still purring and following her whiskers in search of you everyday and probably will until she joins you.
For the rest of us who mourn in the glowing distillation of our time, the echoed shadows of your caring spirit will be our comfort. The threads of your enduring kindness shall be woven in the constantly changing tapestry of your patchwork clans. Stories will be told and forgotten but there will be generations of kind people of precision lawn mowers and master snow shovelers who know how to do it “The Right Way”.
Due to Covid, we will have a family get together at a later date. Interment will take place at the Village of Lumby Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Vernon SPCA (4800 Haney Rd, Vernon, BC, V1H1P6) or a charity of your choice.
You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence at the family’s online obituary @ www.MyAlternatives.ca
Arrangements entrusted to Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services ®
Vernon 250-558-0866 & Armstrong 250-546-7237
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