Melvin Duane Garrett, 91, of Midland, died Sunday, September 17, 2023, at King’s Daughters Home in Midland, MI. The son of the late Clinton and Bernice (Wiltse) Garrett, and great-grandson of Midland County pioneer, Hugh Garrett Sr., Melvin was born on the Garrett homestead in Ingersoll Township on May 8, 1932. As a young boy, he helped his father on the farm and developed a lifelong interest in farming. He established Garrett Family Farm, which was awarded Centennial Farm status by the State of Michigan in 1984. Today, Garrett Family Farm is a sixth-generation farm.
After graduating from Midland High School in 1950, Melvin went to work at The Dow Chemical Company, retiring 35 years later from the Engineering and Purchasing department. He joined the army in 1952, serving 2 years at Fort Knox, KY until his discharge in 1954. He immediately returned to Midland, his employment at Dow and most importantly, to the farming life he loved. Soon thereafter, he met a young teacher serving at the local one-room schoolhouse, Elaine LaDonna Felske of Omer, MI. Theirs was a whirlwind courtship of only a few months. Melvin and Elaine were married on August 27, 1955 and just recently celebrated 68 years of marriage. Melvin is survived by his loving wife, Elaine, their four children and spouses/partners, Marjorie (Brian) Moore of New Hartford, NY, Joyce (Steven Bonham) Messer of Richland, Ronald (Tina) Garrett of Freeland and Nancy (Randy) Harnick of Freeland; grandchildren: Trent Messer, Dr. Lauren (Ty Peterson) Messer; Megan Robinson, Rachel (Kyle) Ewing, Austin (Kassie Bovee) Garrett, Ryan (Megan) Garrett; Garrett, Jason and Erin Harnick and great-grandchildren, Trent, Kali and Tanner Bovee, Jasper Garrett, as well as a niece (Sherilyn Farris), two nephews (Paul and Duane Garrett), and numerous cousins. Melvin was predeceased by his mother Bernice, father Clinton, and his brothers Sidney (infant) and Howard, along with his sister-in-law, Kathleen (Taylor) Garrett and his in-laws, Leonard and Nellie (Hasty) Felske.
Melvin was an active member of the former Poseyville United Methodist Church and in his later years, a member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church. He was a member of the Ingersoll Twp. Planning Committee for 20 years and also served on the Midland County Road Commission. Although never able to play organized high school sports because of his farm duties while growing up, Melvin relished 15 years of Senior softball, including traveling to tournaments in his retirement years. He and Elaine traveled to most of the U.S. states in their motorhome, spending many winter months in Zepherhills, FL making retirement memories with their friends. Melvin always looked forward to family gatherings of all kinds – birthdays, holidays, reunions and any other reason to get together, hear stories, tell stories and celebrate milestones. He also enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren in their many school activities, sports and 4H competitions. Above all else, family came first for Melvin.
Funeral services will take place at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, September 21, 2023, at Aldersgate Church with Pastor Michael Sawicki officiating. Interment will follow in Poseyville Cemetery at a later date. Family will receive visitors at the Wilson MILLER Funeral Home on Wednesday, September 20 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. and at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to The Chippewa Nature Center, Aldersgate Church or a charity of the donor’s choice. Personal messages of condolence may be offered to the family at www.wilson-miller.com.