Melvin Grilley

Melvin Grilley, 89, formerly of Deering, died on Thursday, January 4, 2024 in a Minot assisted living facility.

Melvin Ladd Grilley was born on November 22, 1934 in Minot, ND to Norris and Lillian (Ladd) Grilley. He was raised and educated near Wolseth, ND until 1946 when the family moved to Deering, ND. He graduated from Deering-Thursby-Butte High School in 1954.

Mel enlisted in the US Air Force on January 5, 1955 and served as an aircraft pneudraulic technician until his retirement on January 31, 1975 in Minot. During his service, he was stationed in Washington, California, Texas, North Dakota, Florida, and Massachusetts. His overseas assignments included Spain and Vietnam. Mel earned numerous awards during his years of service including a Good Conduct Medal (with two bronze loops), US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, North Dakota Service Medal, Sharp Shooters Award, and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal.

Mel married Donna Bursau on March 31, 1955 in Norwich. They owned and operated Mel’s Hardware and Repair in Deering from April of 1974 until their retirement in 1996 when they sold the business. He continued to operate a farm repair service until June of 1999. Donna died on April 6, 2019.

Mel was a member of the United Church of Christ, Minot, and served as the State Disaster Director for the Northern Plains Conference of the United Church of Christ from 1999 until 2007. He was an active volunteer for the American Red Cross and was a member of the Retired Enlisted Association and the Deering Senior Citizens. Mel’s hobbies included woodworking and gardening, and he especially enjoyed caring for and mowing the lawn.

Mel is survived by his children: Jonathan and wife Sandra of Deering, Vincent and wife Louise of Crossville, TN and Terri and husband Fred Locke of Memphis TN; five grandchildren; six great grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; one step great grandchild; sibling: Raymond Grilley of Fort Collins CO and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Mel was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Donna; parents; brothers: Emmett, Howard, Wesley and Bob; sisters: Lillian, Joyce, Ellen, Lois, Donna and Dianna.

Celebration of the Life of Melvin Grilley: Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. in Calvary Chapel, Minot (4600 North Broadway).
Interment with Full Military Honors: Sunset Memorial Gardens, Minot
Visitation: Tuesday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Thomas Family Funeral Home, Minot.
Memorials are preferred to the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.


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