A Loving Tribute

Mel Southam

February 24, 1936 – January 3, 2024
Submitted by Melonie Ham


Mel Southam, 87, passed away on January 3rd, 2024, following a lingering illness. He was born on February 24th, 1936, in Roy, Utah. He was the son of Dorothy Cowley and Lee Southam. Mel is survived by his wife, Margaret (Brown) Southam, and their children, Mike (Kim) Southam, Chris (Kurt) Spriggs, Jen Southam, and Melonie (Robert) Ham. He was preceded in death by his oldest daughter, Nanette Loya, as well as multiple siblings. No doubt the reunion with each of them was glorious!

Mel Served as a USAF Strategic Air Command staff sergeant from 1954 to 1962. He served in multiple states and abroad. Mel was fortunate to be able to further his education while in the USAF. After serving eight years, he began his 30-year career with the FAA as an Air Traffic Controller and retired in 1988. Throughout his life, he always had a keen interest in airplanes, regretting that he hadn’t taken the opportunity to train as a pilot.

While stationed in Clearwater, Florida, He met Margaret on a blind date. As a young English woman, Margaret was employed as an Au Pair in the US. They married on March 18th, 1961, and were married for 62 years. Mel’s love for Margaret grew with every child born into their family. As a young couple starting a family, they relocated a few times and then settled in Bountiful, Utah, amongst family. Then, as part of a retirement plan, Mel took a 2-year job teaching Air Traffic Control & Meteorology in Oklahoma. After teaching in Oklahoma, Mel and Margaret moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, in 1982 for eventual retirement. Then he continued to work to stay busy at True Value, and anywhere else he could lend his expertise.

As a young man, Mel became a skilled self-taught carpenter, auto mechanic, electrician, and so much more. He was the original “Do it Yourself” guy. Mel had three great-loves: his wife Margaret, their children, and grandchildren. They shone like a beam of warm light on his family. Mel made great efforts to be present and provide. His magic workshop was a close second. Mel could not sit and relax at the end of the day, so he went into the garage! Lastly, he loved his 1976 Chevrolet Blazer. He shared his love for it (hours of never-ending repairs and improvements) with his son Mike and grandsons Jordan, Zach, and Tomas.

Mel enjoyed doing projects with and for his children. From woodworking to home improvements, he was a stickler for details. He made many beautiful heirlooms that he gave to his children and grandchildren that will always be cherished. Mel liked hiking and four-wheeling with his children and grandchildren, his late friend Jerry Jester, his nephew Steve St. Clair, and anyone else who wanted to join. He also loved to bike local trails with Jerry and his grandsons Jordan and Tomas.

Mel was a wonderful human, and his love was paramount. He was an exemplary role model. He extended his love to others and made each child-in-law feel loved, especially Kim, who never had a dad of her own. He happily took her in as another one of his children. He and Margaret also extended their love to his children’s friends over the years as if they had limitless love.

Imperfections fall by the wayside as we are each left with our memories. In Mel’s absence, his love is beyond cherished.

Services for our dad will be on January 22nd, 2024, at 1:00 pm. Please arrive earlier at 12:30 pm if possible. Veterans Memorial Cemetery 2830 Riverside Parkway, Grand Junction, Colorado, 81501. A reception and lunch to follow at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church 3888 27 ½ Road, Grand Junction, Colorado 81501.

Honor Mel with a donation to HopeWest

Gifts of remembrance are a meaningful way to honor individuals who have touched our lives. Your gift to HopeWest makes a lasting impact in the lives of others.

You can also donate by mail. Send a check to:

3090 N. 12th Street
Grand Junction, CO 81506