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Melvin N. (Mel) Bennett

Melvin N. (Mel) Bennett was born in Valentine, NE and lived the rancher life until he signed up for the US Navy at age 18, in 1968. Mel died suddenly at the VA Medical Center in Grand Junction, CO at the age of 73. He was proud of his service in the Navy during the Vietnam conflict. He was part of the River Assault Flotilla One “Brown Water Navy” as an E3 engine mechanic. He received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

He lived in Rawlins, Wy from 1973-1983. He worked for several years as a UPS delivery driver, then switched to mechanic work at the Unocal uranium mine until it closed and he was transferred to Unocal’s oil shale project in Parachute, Co. Mel worked as a heavy equipment mechanic from then until he retired from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

This hard labor took a toll on his body leading to a nickname “Bionic man” for the body part replacements. During retirement, he rebuilt three VW bugs and his pride, 1954 Ford Truck. Mel enjoyed riding his Harley, camping, and family travel adventures.

Mel will be missed for his pure white beard, sense of humor, “cantankerous attitude” and never-ending support to his family. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Karen (Ross); sons, Johnathan of Grand Junction; Curtis (Chad) of Denver, and Dustin (Donnae) of Denver. He was especially proud of his grandchildren, Jacob, Nathan, and Olivia of Fort Collins, and Breonna of Grand Junction. He is also survived by sister, Donna Rae, NE; brother, Steve, WY; sister-in-law, Valerie (Richard), WY; many nieces and nephews, and his veteran buddies and friends.

Services will be at the Veteran Cemetery off D1/2 Road in Grand Junction, CO on Monday, August 5, 10 a.m. Fellowship lunch to follow at the VFW at 503 ½ Florence Road. Mel loved dessert; we invite people to bring a dessert to share. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the military organization of your choice.

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