Cover photo for Bernard Melter's Obituary
Bernard Melter Profile Photo
1938 Bernard 2015

Bernard Melter

February 24, 1938 — November 29, 2015

Bernard "Bernie" Melter, age 77 of Cannon Falls, died unexpectedly on November 29, 2015 at his residence. Memorial Mass will be 11:00 am, Monday, December 7, 2015 at St. Pius V Catholic Church, Cannon Falls. Visitation will be held on Sunday, December 6, 2015 also at the church from 5:00-8:00 pm with a prayer service at 7:00 pm. Interment with military honors will be held at Fort Snelling National Cemetery on Tuesday at 2:15 pm, Assembly Area #4. Memorials may be directed to the American Heart Association, Ft. Snelling Rifle Squad and the Boy Scouts of America. Bernard Russell Melter was born in Rapid City, SD to Theodore Daniel Melter and Bernice Ethel McGaa on February 24, 1938. He left Rapid City, SD with his guardian Grandparents Edwin E. Melter and Anna (Heckett) Melter in 1945 after the death of his father. He lived in Oregon and Iowa until August 1950 when he returned to live with his mother and step-father Frank Leslie Bremer in Cannon Falls, MN. A Cub Scout in Oregon he joined Troop 39 of Cannon Falls and attained the rank of Eagle Scout with Palms as a member of Explorer Post 39. He attended public and parochial schools in Rapid City, SD and parochial schools in Sturgis, SD, Woonsocket, SD, Waterloo, IA and Mt. Angel, OR and upon returning to Cannon Falls attended Cannon Falls High School from 1950 to graduation in 1956. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve at the Twin Cities Naval Air Station from February 25, 1955 to June 1956 at which time he entered active duty and was stationed at MCB, Camp Lejeune, NC until December of 1956 at which time he was transferred to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, AirFMFPac in Japan and Okinawa serving the H&MS-16, MAG-16 and VMO-2, 3rd Marine Division, FMF. Reenlisting into the regular Marine Corps as a Corporal in 1958 he was then assigned to a four year tour of duty with Marine Corps Recruiting Station, Milwaukee, WI. He was transferred in July of 1962 to Support Co, MCB Camp Pendleton, CA where he served until April 1965 when he transferred to the 4th Battalion 11th Marines at Force Troops 29, Palms, CA. Mike Battery deployed to South East Asia in May of 1965 and he served with that unit at Chu Lai, Republic of South Vietnam until June of 1966 when he returned to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton and served with both the First and Fifth Force Service Regiments. In April of 1970 he was transferred to Stations Operations and Engineering Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, NC. He left there in February of 1971 for an overseas tour of duty with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron, MAG-15, First Marine Aircraft Wing at Iwakuni, Japan and throughout the Far East to include Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines, Naval Air Station, Naha, Okinawa, Japan and Danang AFB, RVN. Upon return to the United States in April of 1972 he was transferred to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, NC where he served in Base Personnel, until June of 1975 when he was transferred to the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity where he retired on April13, 1976 in the grade of Gunnery Sergeant. He held 13 awards upon retirement including two Commanding General citations, the U.S. Marine Corps Career Advisors Award signed by two Commandants, General Wallace Greene and General Robert Cushman (then Base Commander, Camp Pendleton) as well as the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with "V"; Combat Actions Ribbon: Presidential Unit Citation; Navy Unit Citation and Meritorious Unit Citation. The 6th award of the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal; South Vietnam Civil Actions Medal (First Class) Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and Sea Service Deployment Medal. Upon retirement from the Marine Corps he utilized his GI Bill and bought a home at 107 Village Ave, Cannon Falls MN. He attended college and graduated from Inver Hills Community College in June 1979 and continued attending nights and Saturdays through Minnesota State University Mankato (then Mankato State University) graduating in August 1981 with a degree in General Studies (Sociology & Psychology) Magna Cum Laude. He was briefly employed in a temporary position with Northern States Power's Red Wing Steam Plant as a Coal and Ash Handler from June through August of 1976. In January of 1977 he was hired by Dakota County as an Assistant Veterans Service Officer under the late Bill Meyer and served an "apprenticeship" until April 1980 when he was hired as the Goodhue County Veterans Service Officer. While serving in Goodhue County Veterans Service Officer in Red Wing he was active in many volunteer activities. He continued his life long association with Boy Scouts serving on the District Eagle Board of Review and as a Chartered Organizational Representative to the Gamehaven Council with the VFW and Troop 39. He was active in his church as a Confirmation Class Instructor and CCD teacher for both 7th, 8th, and 11th grade classes. He served two terms as a Eucharistic Minister and as a Lector for St. Pius V of Cannon Falls. He was a Bible Study leader and chaperone for youth groups on retreats. For a number of years he introduced the graduating seniors of Cannon Falls and Randolph at the church's graduation service. He was involved in civic opportunities serving as the Ward 2 IR Precinct convener and was a delegate to a number of IR State and County Conventions. As an American Indian he was appointed to serve on the Metropolitan Native American Senior Advocacy Program serving as a Vice Chair and was Chair of the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center Native American Committee. He served as President of the Minnesota Association of County Veterans Service Officers and a member of the Executive Board for a number of years. Active in Veterans Organizations he twice served as Post Commander and as Adjutant of the Kraft-Ostrom American Legion Post 142 and on the 3rd District as Chairman of the School Safety Patrol Committee and was selected by the National American Legion as the 1986 American Legion Good Neighbor of the Year for work with Veterans with dinner and a check for his favorite charities, the Gamehaven Council of the Boy Scouts of America; the Goodhue County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Endowed Brain Sciences Chair of the University of Minnesota. As a member of Nelson-Scofield VFW Post 4452 he was twice Post Commander and served a period as Post Adjutant. He was awarded the coveted "White Hat" as an All State Post Commander in 1981. He served as the Goodhue County Chair of the American Red Cross and was later appointed to serve the State Service Council, Minnesota American Red Cross and with the St. Paul Blood and Tissue Board. He was a member of the Red Wing AVTI Student Personnel Advisory Committee and served on the Hospital Fund Drive in Cannon Falls as a Team Leader and worked with the elementary school on a successful referendum. He was selected as the Minnesota Department, Marine Corps League's "Marine of the Year" in 1987. A member of Red Wing Detachment 510 he served almost 10 years as the Adjutant/Paymaster. He was a past Commander of Chapter 5, Disabled American Veterans and was elected as the Department Commander in 1989. Friday nights in the fall he assisted the Cannon Falls Football Program by heading up the "Chain Gang" at local home football games and any tournament games played at the Cannon Falls field. He was appointed by Governor Rudy Perpich to serve on the Governor's Advisory Committee to the Commissioner of Veterans, Bill Gregg. While in that position he received a Distinguished Service Citation from the Governor on May 11, 1989 and was named Minnesota Veteran of the Year. In 1990 he was interviewed and selected by Governor Elect Arne Carlson to serve in his cabinet as the Commissioner of Veterans Affairs. He served in that position in both of Governor Carlson's two terms of office and was subsequently reappointed to that position by Governor Jesse Ventura and served until January of 2001 a period of ten years and the second longest tenured Commissioner. Among several other awards and recognition, he was awarded the U.S. Army Commanders Award for Public Service with medal by the Commanding Officer, Ft. McCoy, WI for his long time service as a member of both the Ft. McCoy's Army Retiree Council and the Twin Cities Branch of the Council as the Marine Corps member over 8 years serving the full board as Secretary. He was further recognized for his expertise in Veterans matters by his assignment by the Secretary of the Navy to his Retiree Council in Washington, DC for three years to represent Marine Corps enlisted and all Sea Service retirees. In 1996 he was published in the Who's Who of National Business Executives. He was one of 10 Vietnam Veterans recognized by President Jimmy Carter in the State of Minnesota during Vietnam Veterans Awareness week during his administration. In addition to this Eagle Scout Award during his over 45 years of Scouting he earned the Scouters Key for Scouts and District Commissioner, the Scouters Training Award, the Order of the Green Band, Scouter of the Year in North Carolina Onslow District; Scouter of the Year in Wakapota District, Gamehaven Council and the Tar Heel East Carolina Council Compass Award and was subsequently awarded the Silver Beaver by the Gamehaven Council and the District Commissioners Arrowhead Award. He was a member of the Order of the Arrow and a Life Member of the National Eagle Scout Association and was recommended for the National Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. He married Mary Anne (Czerwinski) Melter at St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church in Milwaukee, WI on May 23, 1959. He is survived by his wife; daughter Gail Marie Melter of St. Cloud, MN; sons Scott (Treva) of Lindstrom, MN, Mark (Tristen) of Savage, MN and Frank (Jennifer) of Bethel Acres, OK and daughter Deanna (Paul) of Minneapolis, MN; 15 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; 8 brothers and sisters Julianna (Michael) Polka of Huntsville, AL, Cheryl Pearson of Pine Island, MN, Leslyann of Cannon Falls, MN, Barbara (Bruce) Hovelson of Brookings, SD, William Bremer of Cannon Falls, Edward (Nancy) Bremer of Zumbrota, MN and Catherine (Geoff) Cooke of Atlanta, GA and Ann Marie "Bambi" Bremer of Rochester. He is preceded in death by his parents, Theodore Daniel Melter, Bernice Ethel Bremer and Frank Leslie Bremer; brother, Orian Eugene; numerous uncles and aunts and niece Tanya.

Funeral Home: Lundberg Funeral Home 5839 Hwy 19 Blvd Cannon Falls, MN US 55009

Previous Events

Sunday, December 6, 2015
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
St. Pius V Catholic Church

410 W. Colvill St.
Cannon Falls, MN 55009

Monday, December 7, 2015
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
St. Pius V Catholic Church

410 W. Colvill St.
Cannon Falls, MN 55009

Visitation will be held for one hour prior to the service at church.

Graveside Service
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
2:15 PM - 2:30 PM
Fort Snelling National Cemetery

7601 - 34th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55450

Assembly Area #4

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