Melvin LaVern Ruhs, 91 years of age, of Holdrege, Nebraska (formerly Alma, Nebraska)

Funeral Services for Melvin L. Ruhs will be conducted from the United Methodist Church in Alma, Nebraska on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. with Jane Blum, CLM officiating. Interment will take place at Alma Cemetery, in Alma with Military Honors provided by the Fay Cady American Legion Post #118 of Alma in conjunction with the United States Navy Honors Team.

Melvin LaVern Ruhs, 91 years of age, of Holdrege, Nebraska (formerly Alma, Nebraska) passed away on Friday, January 10, 2014 at the Christian Homes Care Community Center in Holdrege. Melvin was born on April 14, 1922 on the family farm south of Hildreth, Nebraska, the eldest of two children born to Robert Alfred and Emma Louise (Casper) Ruhs.

Mel was baptized in the Lutheran faith at Hildreth in his infancy. When Mel was one year old, he moved with his family to Harlan County, where he attended the Prairie Dog Rural School District #8 south of Alma in Harlan County. He started high school in Alma, later moving to Elkins, Arkansas in 1937 with his parents where they resided until 1938. Mel worked on farms in Nebraska until 1939 when he moved to Omack, Washington to pick apples. From Washington, and with five other young men, went to the Imperial Valley in California to pick peas. They returned to Nebraska in the fall of 1939 and in the spring of 1940, he went to Hood River, Oregon, where he worked in the orchards, returning to Nebraska in the fall of that year.

On May 30, 1941, Melvin was united in marriage to Vernietta Evelyn Trout at the Phillips County Court House in Phillipsburg, Kansas by Judge F.S. Snyder. To this union five children were born: Judy Ivene, Ronald Edward, Gary Gene, Susan Kaye, and Jerry Lee. After their marriage, they resided at Hood River, Oregon where Mel continued to work in the orchards. He was later employed by Collins Concrete and Steel. On weekends and nights, he attended welding school, where he then worked as a welder in the shipyards at Portland, Oregon.

On March 8, 1945, Mel enlisted into the United States Navy and later transferred to the Sea Bees. He served at Kansas City, Missouri, the Great Lakes, Illinois, Davisville, Rhode Island, and Camp Parks, California. From there Mel went to Honolulu, Hawaii and then to Guam in the Marshall Islands. Mel served with the 52nd Navy Sea Bees, and then transferred to 103rd Navy Sea Bees where he served until he was honorably discharged on April 2, 1946 at the U.S. Naval Personnel Separation Center in St. Louis, Missouri. While serving in the U.S. Navy, Mel received the American Area Service Medal, the Victory Medal, and the Asiatic Pacific Medal.

Following his discharge, Mel and Vernietta moved to Alma. From 1946 until 1960, Mel operated the Highway Garage – Allis Chalmbers with Lawrence Frieling and then managed the shop at Dahlgrens Farm Supply – Allis Chalmers in Holdrege, NE from 1960-1985. During this same time, Mel also operated Mel's Marine in Alma, retiring in 1985 and he continued to enjoy small engine repair after retirement.

The family traveled extensively over the years in their motor homes, visiting Canada, Alaska and all but one or two states in the US. This was a special time for the family when the kids were growing up. In June of 2009, after 57 years at his home in Alma, Mel moved to Hillcrest Terrace Assisted Living Center in Alma.

Mel was a member of the Free Methodist Church in Alma, and was a member of the Faye Cady American Legion Post #118 for over 64 years and the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #3132 of Holdrege for over 48 years.

Mel was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Vernietta on April 15, 2005; his son, Ron in 2001; daughter-in-law, Diana in 2004; and two brothers-in-law, Clifford Trout and his wife Joyce and Dean Trout and his wife, Jeanette.

Mel is survived by two daughters: Judy Flammang and her husband, Harry, Jr. of Moreno Valley, California and Susan Haberman and her husband, Tom of Lincoln, Nebraska; two sons, Gary Ruhs and his wife, Cindy of Holdrege and Jerry Ruhs and his wife, Alane of Minden, Nebraska; ten grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; five great great-grandchild; one sister, Madeline Pool of Holdrege; two brothers-in-law, Warren Pool of Alma and James Trout and his wife, Ruth of Evanston, Wyoming; along with many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Bauer-Torrey & Mach Funeral Home in Alma.
A memorial has been established in Melvin's honor and will be designated at a later date.

Expressions of caring and kindness may be sent to the family at www.nelsonbauerfh.com

The Bauer-Torrey & Mach Funeral Home in Alma is in charge of the arrangements.

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