Mel was born in Chugwater, Wyoming on September 23, 1939 to parents Bessie Rozema (née Ferguson) and Harry Rozema. He was the third of four children. He grew up on the family farm, and in 1946 they moved from Wyoming to Utah.
In June of 1957 Mel borrowed $100 from his father for private flying lessons. He was determined to learn to fly, citing his fascination of birds and their effortless flight and a little yellow crop duster that landed at a neighboring farm when he was a child as motivating factors. Mel worked his way through school, became a flight instructor and then began flying for the United States Postal Service, the Atomic Energy Commission, the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Fish and Game, as well as being a charter pilot. He later became an airline pilot, flying for Western and Delta Airlines, retiring after 33 years. He continued with his hobby plane, a Cessna 180. He enjoyed back country flying, often landing to fish, camp and pan for gold in the wilderness. After retiring from flight because of his age - he channeled his energy into remote control airplanes until his eyesight declined.
He married Sharol ‘Sherry’ Garner in 1961 and they started a family. Ken, Lane and Karen were raised in the home they built in Centerville, Utah. Together they instilled in their children a love of the great outdoors - camping, snowmobiling, gardening and traveling.
He cherished his grandchildren, Alyssa and Colton. He held dear to his heart his time with his four great grandchildren: Adalyn, Arden, Ellie and Aven. Visits with his family brought him true joy and he was very proud of his children.
He served as the airport manager and fought tirelessly for SkyPark Airport in Woods Cross, Utah for many years. You could often find him mowing the grass or plowing the snow because he took pride in all of his work. Mel loved working in the wood shop at his hangar at the airport, carefully crafting intricate chess and domino sets, beautiful wooden clocks and furniture. His talent and precision was remarkable.
He enjoyed mingling with his many beloved friends at the Down Under, Sunshine Cafe, Alice’s Cafe and Ramblin Roads. He had countless lifelong friends and amazing neighbors that he shared many hunting and camping trips, barbecues and shenanigans with.
In February 2013, he suffered a terrible loss when his loving and loyal wife, Sherry, passed away. After that he felt like a piece of him was missing and he never truly recovered. I can recall him often saying, “I’ve lost my mate and now I don’t know what to do.”
Mel was as stubborn as they come and rough around the edges, but his old age and humbling life experiences brought in a tenderness that we rejoiced in. He always gave wise advice, he was generous and forgiving. He loved cracking jokes, watching NASCAR and Jazz games with Sherry, canning tomatoes, working in the garden and he made one hell of a brisket.
In October of 2022 Mel was diagnosed with throat and lymphatic cancer and he came prepared to fight. Karen was by his side every single day, at every medical appointment and cared for him selflessly during his battle. After beginning treatment he and his body decided he could no longer carry on and he passed away at Lakeview Hospital in the company of his devoted daughter and faithful son-in-law, Jeff.
Mel is survived by Ken Rozema and Amy Stoker of Salt Lake City, UT; Lane Rozema of New York City, NY; Karen and Jeff Argyle of Centerville, UT; Alyssa, Adalyn, Arden and Aven Argyle of South Ogden, UT; Colton, Jordan and Ellie Argyle of Centerville, UT.
A celebration of life will be held in April of 2023 at SkyPark Airport. If you are interested in attending, please email email@example.com