Melvin C. Morkert, age 86, passed away Thursday, January 21, 2010. Melvin was born April 15, 1923, in Leeds, North Dakota, to Joseph and Lena (Nee: Struckness) Morkert and was educated in Leeds.
Melvin enlisted in the United States Army from 1942 to 1944. He served in the 340th Army Corps of Engineers in the South Pacific and then in Alaska, where he helped to build the Alaskan Highway. After discharge from the service he enrolled at Cal Area Technical School in Burbank, California. While attending school he worked at Hughes Aircraft for Howard Hughes. After receiving his aircraft and power plant certification he worked in Waco, Texas, and then went to Grand Forks, North Dakota, to work for Jolly Aviation as a crop duster.
In 1950 he came to Racine and worked at Racine Commercial Airport. In 1970 he was hired by S.C. Johnson Wax to set up an Aircraft Maintenance Department and was the Chief of Maintenance until he retired in 1991. He received the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award in 2000, for over 50 years as an FAA Certified Mechanic. He was inducted into the EAA Hall of Fame in 2001. Melvin was a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Johnson Wax “20 Year Club.”
Survivors include his loving wife of 53 years, Ann; his two daughters, JoAnn Morkert and Janet (Joseph) Maller; his special granddaughter, Kayla Rae Maller, all of Racine; sisters, Mildred Morkert of Leeds, ND, Gladys Dickey of Scotts Bluff, NE, Beatrice Eide of Frazee, MN; sisters-in-law, Bette Schulz of Racine, Kay Vassallo of Tucson, AZ; brother-in-law, Edward Floyd of Racine; his granddog, Gracie; many dear nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Lena Morkert; and by his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Frank and Carmela Vassallo.
Private funeral services were held with interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, Hwy 32. Memorials to St. Catherine’s High School or to the American Heart Association have been suggested.
MARESH-MEREDITH AND ACKLAM FUNERAL HOME
803 Main St., Racine (262) 634-7888