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Melvin R. Whitacre

January 23, 2019
Estherville News

Celebration services for Melvin R. Whitacre, 83, of Estherville, will be held at 1:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, at First Christian Church in Estherville with Pastor Doug Burton officiating. Interment will be at East Side Cemetery, Estherville. Melvin passed away on the morning of Jan. 21, 2019, at Avera Holy Family Hospital in Estherville.

Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., Thursday at the First Christian Church in Estherville.

Melvin Roger Whitacre, son of Henry Alfred and Ida Mae (Pickell) Whitacre, was born on Dec. 16, 1935 in Estherville, Iowa. Melvin lived in Gruver, Iowa with his parents and siblings for the first 10 to 12 years of his life. His father, Henry worked on the track crew for the Rock Island Railroad. While living in Gruver, the family lived in two freight cars put together, covered with insulation and wood siding. The family moved to a house in Estherville sometime between 1945 and 1947.

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Melvin attended school at Estherville Schools. On April 11, 1953, he was united in marriage to Beverly J. Hockett in Sioux Falls, S.D. Melvin worked for the Rock Island, Chicago Northwestern, and Union Pacific Railroads as a Certified Diesel Locomotive Specialist and Machinist for 44 years. During the end of his railroad career he worked out of Council Bluffs, Iowa and Provisio, Ill. He was able to take early retirement at 62 and half years due to his late onset of diabetes. During his years of employment with the Rock Island Railroad, Melvin and Beverly's goal was for her to be a homemaker and be with their children. In order to support a family of eight, Melvin picked up a variety of part-time jobs in addition to his employment with the railroad. He worked part-time for a tree nursery during the spring and summer months and during the fall and winter months he bartended at the local bowling alley and a couple other bars in town.

Melvin was an active member of the First Christian Church in Estherville. He was also a member of the Estherville VFW Post for several years. For a good share of his life, Melvin enjoyed bowling league, golfing, playing cards, and camping and fishing trips with his brothers or Bev and the children. He was an avid Minnesota Vikings and Twins fan.

In his selfless nature, Melvin continued to give the gift of life, through tissue donation with the Iowa Donor Network at the time of his death.

Melvin is survived by his wife Beverly; his children: Debra (Mike) Henricksen-Moriarity, Terry (Shelly) Whitacre, Lenny (Kim) Whitacre, Monty Whitacre, Jackie (Mark) Harris, and Wanette (Lance) Zimmerman; 42 grandchildren; and 52 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his parents; four brothers: Cecil, Charles, John, and Gene; and three sisters Henrietta Peterson, Trella DeVoss, and Leona Fisher.

In lieu of flowers donations are preferred to be made in Melvin's name to

American Heart Association, Good Samaritan Home in Estherville, or



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