John Mellinger
  • Born on: September 30, 1929
  • Departed on: November 25, 2017
  • Resided in: Newton, IA

John Mellinger

John C. Mellinger, resident of Park Center, in Newton, Iowa, passed peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, November 25th, 2017 at the age of 88.

John was born September 30, 1929 in Omaha, NE, the adopted son of Frank and Hazel Mellinger. He attended Omaha Central High School and Iowa State University, where he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Shortly prior to graduation from ISU, he married the love of his life, Mary Ellan Hird. The young couple then left the Midwest for the West Coast, settling just outside of Los Angles, where John was employed with North American Aviation as a design engineer. With the coming of their first child (Marta) and the desire to be close to family, the couple relocated back to the Midwest, landing in Newton, IA where John began a 39-year career with the Maytag Company. Originally a design engineer, John advanced to VP and Director of Research and Development for the company, a position from which he retired in 1991.

While his professional life brought satisfaction, true contentment came from his efforts to support the community and children of Newton. Countless hours were volunteered to various organizations and causes including the following: Dollars for Scholars, the Newton Community YMCA, the Newton Community Center, the YMCA Camp of Boone, IA, the Newton Library, Newton Community Schools, the Newton Community Theater, the United Way, Newton Little League, the Center for Arts and Artists, The Chamber of Commerce, Skiff Memorial Hospital and many other organizations. John formerly was an active member at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Newton, and the First United Methodist Church where he taught various youth and Sunday school classes.

John was a President of the Citizens Committee for Schools, Co-Chairman of Maytag Consolidated Fund (now the United Way), President of the Noon Rotary Club of Newton, President and Chairman of the Newton Little League, board member of the Newton Chamber of Commerce, board member of Newton Community Theater, President of Dollars for Scholars, Chairman of the Endowment Committee for the Y Community Center, and President of the Newton United Way.

One of John’s proudest accomplishments was becoming an ex-smoker and then leading smoking cessation classes at the YMCA, where he was able to help hundreds of others to “kick the habit”.
John was an avid sportsman, excelling at fast pitch softball (he had a mean fastball as a young man!), ping-pong, golf (ah, if he only had a short game!), tennis, and volleyball (The Ageless 8!). He loved and supported the Iowa State Cyclones and Newton Cardinal sports teams.

In retirement, John, along with Mary Ellan, continued to raise funds for Dollars for Scholars. They organized and supported the Newton Dollars for Scholars “Tour of Homes”. John drew hundreds of pen & ink drawings of homes and businesses generating thousands of dollars in donations to the Dollar for Scholars scholarship fund. John and Mary Ellan continued to be active in their chosen volunteer organizations, while also reading to elementary school children at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, which he enjoyed immensely. The couple also enjoyed family, friends, picking flowers for his bride, golf, tennis, bike riding, gardening, traveling the world, snorkeling in the Virgin Islands, grandkids and the “Pot Luck Group”, as well as completing many more pen and ink drawings.

John and Mary Ellan reluctantly left their home of 45 years just west of Newton several years ago and relocated to Park Center where he resided until his passing. John loved Iowa, many times he made the statement, “Iowa may not have oceans or mountains, but it has its own special beauty”.

John is survived by his bride of 66 years, Mary Ellan, of Newton, his son, David (Kim) of Johnston, Iowa; his granddaughters Molly and Elizabeth Mellinger, Alexandra and Gillian Frackelton, Melanie Mellinger and grandson Kyle Mellinger. He was proceeded in death by his parents, his son Todd, his son Mark, and his daughter Marta.

A memorial service will be held at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 223 East 4th St. North, Newton, IA, at 2 pm, Saturday, December 9th in Johns honor. A reception will immediately follow the service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Newton Dollars for Scholars program. (Newton Dollars for Scholars, Attn: Gary Kirchhoff, PO Box 1492, Newton Iowa, 50208)
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