Melvin, “Tuggy,” passed away at his home on Lake Wannacut, Okanogan County, on March 26th, 2021. He had lived a long and full life and died of natural causes at the age of 101 years. On August 5th, 1919 Melvin was born at home in Hartford, Washington near Lake Stevens. Both parents, John Halldin and Betty Staffens, had immigrated separately from Finland around the turn of the century, met and married in Pennsylvania, moving to the Northwest in the early 1900’s.
His early years were spent developing an intuitive ability to build and fix things, both electrical and mechanical. He built his first radio, a crystal set, at the age of eleven, brought in electrical service and wired the entire family home while still a junior at Lake Stevens High School. Leaving school to help with the family finances he moved to his sister’s home on Broadway in Everett where he took various jobs in primarily mechanical work and ended up first as a deck hand and then a skipper for Everett Tug and Barge (hence the nickname ‘Tuggy’).
In 1941, he married Catherine May (Wright) of Everett and began housekeeping. During the war period he found himself building P-39s at Paine Field, but the draft finally called him up to duty and he
became a sergeant in the 671st Tank Destroyer Battalion, Hq. Company, for the liberation of the Philippines. Returning home, he completed his working career at Everett Pulp and Paper and Nord Lumber. Retiring, he and Catherine moved to their new home on Lake Wannacut in the upper Okanogan. Catherine predeceased him in 1998. He subsequently remarried Kay (Bergeson, Kock), expanding his family relationships significantly. Kay also predeceased him in 2008 and he remained unmarried for the rest of his life. He is survived by four generations of family relationships.
Fully beloved by his many friends in the Lake Wannacut area, he became the unofficial mayor of what became known as Melville on the shores of the lake. He was greatly admired and will be very much missed. A memorial and celebration of his life is currently planned to be held at the Lake Wannacut Resort on a date yet to be announced. Memorials may be sent to the Wounded Warriors Project or the Tunnel to Towers Organization.
Bergh Funeral Service & Crematory is in care of arrangements.