Melvin Joseph “Mel” Bickler, the son of Joseph and Josephine (Volk) Bickler was born on March 5th, 1927 in Salem, Oregon. He died at the age of 87 years on Friday, June 13th, 2014 at his home in Rugby, North Dakota in the care of his family and hospice.
Mel was raised in the rural Rugby home of his parents and graduated from Rugby High School, the class of 1944. On October 29, 1951, he was united in marriage to Alma Lord at Little Flower Catholic Church in Rugby. Following their marriage, the couple made their home, started their family, farmed and raised cattle on the Bickler family farm, just east of Rugby. In addition to farming, Mel worked at the Pleasant Lake Grain Elevator and in 1978, became partner in the ownership of the elevator. In 1976, Mel and Alma built a home in Rugby where they have resided since. He retired in 1987.
Mel was a member of Little Flower Catholic Church, the 3rd and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus and the Rugby Eagles Aerie. He enjoyed fishing with his friend, Joe, gardening, playing cards and keeping an immaculate yard.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Alma; one son, Karl (Karen) of Chanhassen, Minnesota; two daughters, Jane (Jeff) Chounard of Clear Lake, Minnesota and Dianne (Jim) Wolf of Las Vegas, Nevada; eight grandchildren, Mark Bickler, Kurt Bickler, Zachary Seanger, Ali Seanger, Chad Wolf, Christopher Wolf, Jay Somsen and Kelsey Somsen; four sisters, Phyllis Hoffman of Placerville, California, Dolores Sullivan of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Donna Lou Smith of Hamburg, New Jersey and Charlotte (Arlen) Blessum of Rugby; nieces, nephews, other relatives and a host of friends. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Bonnie; one sister, Leota Dalthorp; and his parents.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, June 19th at the Little Flower Catholic Church in Rugby with burial in the church cemetery. Fr. Tom Graner, Celebrant Msgr. Brian Donahue, Concelebrant and Deacon, Rev. Mr. Arlen Blessum.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m, with a rosary & vigil prayer service at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Anderson Funeral Home in Rugby. Visitation will continue from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home. There will be no reviewal in the church.
Organist: Angie Deplazes Vocal Leader/Cantor: Robert Graber
Casketbearers: Brian, Jim, Alan and Stuart Blessum, Zachary Seanger, Jay Somsen and Chris Wolf.
Arrangements with the Anderson Funeral Home of Rugby. Online registry: funeralsbyanderson.com