Melvin Eugene Rea, 85 years, of Fort Madison, Iowa died at 4:38 pm Friday, November 1, 2013 at the Great River Hospice House, West Burlington, Iowa. He was born March 17, 1928, in Hancock County, west of Ferris, Illinois, a son of Dee and Helen (Brandon) Rea. On December 12, 1953, he married LaVonna “Vonnie” Horner at Fort Madison, Iowa, they were married 59 years. She survives.
Mel attended school in Blandinsville, Illinois. He was a veteran of the United States Army, serving during the Korean War. In 1953, he moved to Fort Madison, Iowa. He worked as an operator and later a shift supervisor at Ortho, retiring November 1986. After retirement he worked at the Boat Shop in Niota, Illinois and then at Kempker’s in their lawn mower shop. He was a lifelong mechanic and enjoyed working on cars. He liked golfing and trap shooting, and taught hunter safety for the JayCee’s. He was a member of the VFW, American Legion, Elks, and former member of the JayCee’s. He was a member of the Fort Madison United Methodist Church.
He is survived by his wife, LaVonna “Vonnie” Rea, of Fort Madison, Iowa; two sons, Jeff (wife Sharon) Rea, of Detroit, Michigan and Todd (wife Jeniffer) Rea, of Cedar Falls, Iowa; two daughters, Marcia (husband Michael) Liggett, of Herrin, Illinois and Jan (husband Steve) Niggemeyer, of Maynard, Iowa; three brothers: Carl Rea, of Niota, Illinois; Glen (wife Delores) Rea, of Niota, Illinois; and Jim (wife Faye) Rea, of Colchester, Illinois; three sisters: Betty (husband Bill) Boyer, of Carthage, Illinois; Leann (husband Jim) Derks, of Anchorage, Alaska; and Carolyn (Carl) McMillen, of Fort Madison, Iowa; ten grandchildren: Matt Fodge, Maggie Fodge, Alan Niggemeyer, Brad Niggemeyer, Caitlin Reinking, Jesse Rea, Aimee Freed, Jace Rea, Grant Rea, and Breck Rea; two great grandchildren, Camdin Freed and Micah Niggemeyer; nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers: Willie Rea, Jack Rea, John Rea, and Donnie Rea; and one sister, Norma Bayne.
Per his wishes, his body has been cremated. His family will greet friends from 5:00 - 7:00 pm Monday, November 4, 2013 at the Barr Memorial Chapel, Fort Madison. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 am Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at the Barr Memorial Chapel, Fort Madison, with Pastor Dean Graber and Reverend Lanette S. Van, officiating. Burial will be at the Soldiers Circle, Oakland Cemetery, Fort Madison, Iowa with full military rites. A memorial has been established for Great River Hospice and Tri-State Gun Club, contributions may be made at the Barr Memorial Chapel, Fort Madison.