Mel Southam, 87, passed away on January 3rd, 2024 following a lingering illness. He was born on February 24th, 1936 in Roy Utah. He was the son of Dorothy Cowley and Lee Southam. Mel is survived by his Wife Margaret (Brown) Southam, and their children Mike (Kim) Southam, Chris (Kurt) Spriggs, Jen Southam, and Melonie (Robert) Ham. He was preceded in death by his oldest daughter Nanette Loya, as well as multiple siblings. No doubt the reunion with each of them was glorious!
Mel Served as a staff sergeant in the USAF Strategic Air Command, from 1954 to 1962. He served in multiple states and abroad. Mel was fortunate to be able to further his education while in the USAF. After serving eight years, He began his 30-year career with the FAA as an Air Traffic Controller. Mel retired in 1988. Throughout his life he always had a keen interest in airplanes, regretting that he hadn’t taken the opportunity to train as a pilot.
While stationed in Clearwater, Florida, He Met Margaret on a blind date. As a young English woman, Margaret was in the US, employed as an Au Pair. They married on March 18th, 1961, and were married for 62 years. Mel’s love for Margaret grew with every year and every child came into their family. As a young couple starting a family, they relocated a few times and then settled in Bountiful Utah, among family. Then, as part of a plan for retirement, Mel took a 2-year job teaching Air Traffic Control & Meteorology in Oklahoma. After teaching in Oklahoma, Mel, and Margaret Moved to Grand Junction (1981) Colorado for eventual retirement. Then continued to work to stay busy at True Value and anywhere else that he could lend his expertise.
As a young man, Mel became a skilled self-taught carpenter, auto mechanic, electrician and so much more. He was the original DIY’er. Mel had three great loves in his life: Mels love for Margaret, their children and grandchildren shone like a beam of warm light on his family. Mel made great efforts to be present and provide. His magic workshop was a close second. Mel was unable to sit and relax at the end of a day…into the garage he went! Lastly, he loved his 1976 Chevrolet Blazer. He shared his love for it (hours of never ending repairs and improvements) with his son Mike and grandsons Jordan, Zach and Tomas.
Mel enjoyed doing projects with and for his children. From woodworking to home improvements, he was a stickler for details. He made many beautiful heirlooms that he gave to his children and grandchildren that will always be cherished. Mel liked hiking and 4 wheeling with his children and grandchildren, his late friend Jerry Jester, his nephew Steve StClair and anyone else who wanted to join. He also loved to bike local trails with Jerry, and his grandsons Jordan and Tomas.
Mel was a wonderful human and his love was paramount. He was an exemplary role model. He extended his love to others, and made each of his children-in-laws feel loved. Especially Kim, who never had a dad of her own. He happily took her in as another one of his children. He and Margaret also extended their love to friends of his children over the years, as if they had limitless love.
Imperfections fall by the wayside as we are each left with our memories. In his absence, his love is beyond cherished.
Services for our Dad will be
January 22nd, 2024 at 1:00 PM, get there early, 12:30.
Veterans Memorial Cemetery
2830 Riverside Parkway,
Grand Junction, Colorado, 81501
Reception and lunch to follow
St Matthew's Episcopal Church
3888 27 ½ Road,
Grand Junction, Colorado 81501