Services for Clifton Douglas “Cliff” Melby

I will make no excuses for myself; I simply don't have any.  -Clifton
I take a handful of vitamins every morning, I want to be healthy when I die.  -Clifton
Clifton Douglas “Cliff” Melby, 75, of Oklee, MN, passed away peacefully at his home with his loving wife, Barb, at his side. For the past several years, he battled Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis with great courage and good humor.
Visitation will be held at Zion Lutheran Church in Oklee, MN on Sunday, May 26, 2024 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm, with a 5:00pm prayer service.
A Celebration of Cliff’s Life will also take place at Zion Lutheran Church in Oklee, MN on Monday, May 27, 2024 at 11:00am, with Eric Mickelson officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Burial at the Zion Lutheran Cemetery will follow the service.
On February 11, 1949, a second son was born to Thomas “Tom” O. and Bernetta “Betty“ Dora (Seeger) Melby and was welcomed by big brother Tommy. The family was now complete.
A life long resident of Oklee, Cliff was baptized and confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church, he attended Oklee Public School, graduating with the class of 1967. After high school, he took classes at Bemidji State University.
At an Oklee “gathering” in 1969, Barbara “Barb” Bronken caught his eye. Little did he know his future would be changing!  They married January 2, 1971, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Oklee, and were blessed with three children, Isaac, Jacob and Erin.
They made their home in Oklee and Cliff joined his father and mother in the family business, Oklee Lumber Yard. Cliff purchased the business in 1976 and was very proud to keep it in the family. In 2004, he sold the Lumber Yard to his son, Isaac and continued to work until he retired in 2017.
Cliff had many passions.  First and foremost, his family, followed by wonderful lifelong friends and many new friends he gathered along the way. At an early age he discovered motorcycling and never lost his enthusiasm. He continued to love motorcycling, traveling throughout our nation on trips with his family and friends in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and trekking from Oklee to Labrador and Newfoundland. Every trip left him eager for the next adventure, which inspired his first book “Motorcycling the Maritimes”.  His second book “Memoirs of Mexico and Motorcycling” will be available soon.
Another great passion was anything related to wood; planting trees on their family farm, cutting, burning and carving. His carvings are legendary among family and friends and he became very skilled and prolific.
He had an eclectic taste in music and loved to share his passion with others. He learned to play by ear, enjoyed concerts and dearly loved listening to his daughter Erin play the piano.
Cliff loved the Minnesota Vikings so passionately that he wasn’t able to watch them on TV, but had to listen on the radio.
Cliff was a great storyteller and was well known for sharing his gift of gab in delightful postcards to family and friends. He really enjoyed sending and receiving, especially in the last few years.
He is survived by Barb, his wife of 53 years, Oklee, MN, children; Isaac (Marcella) Melby, Oklee, MN, Jacob (Cindy) Melby, Gonvick, MN, Erin (Kevin) Crawford, Phoenix, AZ; grandchildren, Sydney and Karena Melby, Lauren, Dana and Tatum Melby, Elliot Jones, Simone and Clifton Crawford; brother and sister in laws, Beth (Neil) Carlson, Holly Bronken, Jim Bronken, Margaret (Bob) Olmstead, Peter (Leah) Bronken; and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Thomas “Tom” O. and Bernetta “Betty” Dora (Seeger) Melby; brother Thomas Jay “Tommy” Melby; father and mother in law, Marvin and Joan Bronken; brothers in law, Richard “Rich” Bronken, Karl Stadem and Sherman Knutson; and sister in law, Tracy Bronken.
Condolences may be sent to and memorials may be made to the Zion Lutheran Church and Zion Cemetery. 

Richards Publishing

P.O. Box 159
239 2nd Ave
Gonvick, MN 56644
Telephone: (218) 487-5225


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