Melvin Ditmars

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Melvin Ditmars entered into rest on June 4, 2014. He passed away at the New Homestead Nursing Home after experiencing a badly damaged heart attack. He was born July 30, 1927, in Osborn, Mo., to Clay and Lulu Ditmars. He was a member of the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Nevada, Mo. The body will be cremated.

Before he entered the service, he worked at Dannen Dairy Farms in Little Rock, Ark. He entered the U.S. Navy in World War II, April 6, 1945, at Great Lakes Naval Base as a Seabee Seaman 1st Class. He sailed aboard USS Nicholas DD/DDE and FFG47. He landed in the Philippines where he was a big rig operator, building airstrips for American planes to land as well as fighting the Japanese who were holed- up in the caves in the mountains. He was discharged May 7, 1946, but was still in the Naval Reserves. He joined the Korean Conflict Era on Nov. 16, 1950, and was discharged July 13, 1953. While in the service, he won the Philippine Liberation Medal, Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal, and the American Area Campaign Medal, among others.

Arriving back to the U.S., he lived and worked in California for a number of years. He was a reserve on the Sheriff's Department in San Pablo, Calif., for a number of years. Also, being experienced with big rigs, he helped to build new roads in California. Later he worked for Safeway Co., working in the Produce Warehouse. Safeway transferred him to Carthage, Mo., to be a supervisor in a Safeway cheese plant, retiring from there in 1989.

He leaves to mourn his life, his wife of 29 years, Olive (Wilson), of Guthrie Center; children, Larry (Jacque), of Spring Valley, Nev., JoAnn (Bob) La Venture, of Albuquerque, N.M., Dale, of Joplin, Mo., and Linda, of Joplin, Mo.; one sister, Shirley, of Georgia; ten grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Clay and Lulu Ditmars; one sister, Josephine Holland; and two brothers, Robert and Clarence.

There will be no visitation or funeral. Burial of cremated remains will be at 10 a.m., Monday, June 16, at Union Cemetery, in Guthrie Center. Memorials can be made out to Hospice of Central Iowa.