Melton (Mel) Gerald Bockman, resident of Bainbridge Island, Washington, gently passed away at his home on January 30, 2019 at the age of 95 after a long battle with myelodysplasia, a blood cancer.
Mel was born on a farm in Sperling, Manitoba, Canada on May 23, 1923. He was one of 4 sons. Mel’s family returned to their home in Odell, Illinois (on famous route 66) where his grandfather was the bandmaster. Mel was known for his love of music and singing along to any song he heard.
Mel enlisted in the Marines in 1943. He attended mechanics school, where he met many lifelong friends. Mel embarked with the 7th Service Regiment, Motor Transport Unit to the South Seas in February,1944 and served during WWII in Saipan, Okinawa, and China. He was honorably discharged in January, 1946.
Mel married Marian Frances Scherle in February, 1947 and they have enjoyed 72 years together. They made their first home in Detroit, Michigan where they grew into a family of 3 daughters (Toni, Sherri and Terri) and Mel learned the printing trade. Mel and Marian moved their family to a warmer climate in 1963 and established a home in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose, California. He bought Craftsmen Printing in Campbell, California, which he and Marian ran until the time of their retirement. Mel and Marian also enjoyed a winter home in Palm Desert, CA.
Mel was very handy and enjoyed building and fixing things. He converted a 1941 Greyhound bus into a RV, the first of 3 RVs Mel and Marian enjoyed. Mel was very active in his local Kiwanis and eventually became the Lt. Governor of his Kiwanis Division. Mel also enjoyed getting together with his Marine buddies at an annual Motor Transport/ 7th Marine Field Depot reunion, which continue annually as the Greatest Generation slowly dwindles.
Mel is survived by his wife, Marian, three daughters, Toni McCarthy of Monument, CO, Sherri Wilson of Bainbridge Island, WA, and Terri Lausten of Gig Harbor, WA, 5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Mel was buried in Port Blakely Cemetery on Bainbridge Island on February 6th 2019. A celebration of life will be held on May 11th at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church, Bainbridge Island. Please consider making a donation to your local blood bank in Mel’s memory.
Mel served his country as a proud member of the Marine Corps (once a Marine, always a Marine),
His community as a Kiwanian,
His church as the President of the congregation,
His family as a proud and loving husband and father,
and all who knew him as civic minded, often challenging, and always caring neighbor and friend.
Rest easy Marine, we’ve got the watch.