The Rev. Raymond Edward Melheim died in his sleep on Thursday, Sept. 27, at Eventide Nursing Home in Jamestown.
Born May 19, 1920, in Sioux City, Iowa, to Martin and Mary Melheim, Ray grew up on top of Morningside Hill and attended Joy School with a "gang" of friends in a day when "gang" was a good word. He was working as a fireman on the railroad when World War II started. Ray joined the Army on May 27, 1942, and fought with the 81st Division (Wildcat Brigade) in the South Pacific Theater for 3 1/2 years. He served as a staff sergeant in the Philippines, the Battles of Leyte and Peleliu, and took part in the occupation of Japan following the war. He earned the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, a Bronze Star and a Good Conduct Medal.
Upon his return stateside, a friend who was disfigured in the war asked him to go to college for a semester as his room mate. Asking his older sister, Nell, if she thought college would be a good choice, she shrugged her shoulders and said, "I suppose it couldn't hurt." Ray enrolled in Augustana College, Sioux Falls, and quickly found himself loving student life, singing in the choir, and president of the Lutheran Student Association.
He graduated from Augustana, received a master's of divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and was ordained into the Lutheran ministry in 1951.
While on internship in Chetek, Wis., he met his love, a farmer's daughter, Kathryn Lenbom, of Chetek, Wis., and married her on Aug. 26, 1951. For 38 years they served Christ's church with a love for people and a zeal for missions. Ray enjoyed knocking on doors, telling stories, planting gardens, and dragging stray students, visitors and widowed folks home for Sunday dinners while serving parishes in Dilworth, Minn., and Souris, Williston and Parshall in North Dakota.
Rev. Melheim was preceded in death by his wife, Kathryn.
He is survived by: two daughters, Ruth (Steven) Brubakken, of Jamestown, and Karen (Stephen) Brevig, Wake Forest, N.C.; one son, the Rev. Rich (Arlyce) Melheim, of Stillwater, Minn.; and five grandchildren, Clint Brevig, ChrisDee (Chris) Brevig Scott, Kathryn E. Melheim, John Brubakken and Joseph Melheim.
The funeral was held Sunday, Sept. 30, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church of Moorhead, Minn. The burial was held with full military honors on Monday, Oct. 1, at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Fargo. Korsmo Funeral Services of Moorhead made the arrangements.
Ray's last video interview, along with a special song written in his honor can be viewed at (http://youtu.be/2sOPFM1KwZo).
Memorials: May be directed to the Christian mission or youth ministry of the donor's choice in Ray's honor.