Melvin L. Dirksen, 97, a resident of rural LeClaire, Iowa died on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at his daughter’s home.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 A.M. with visitation at 9:30, Saturday, October 3, 2020 at Pleasant View Baptist Church, 6400 Crow Creek Rd. in Bettendorf, Iowa where Mel was the founding pastor. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Ethnos 360 (formally New Tribes Mission) or Pleasant View Baptist Church.
He was born in Lennox, South Dakota on January 19, 1923, the son of Henry and Fannie (Mundhenke) Dirksen. On August 8, 1946, he was united in marriage to the love of his life Betty Jean Ellsworth in Bettendorf, Iowa. She preceded him in death on April 19,2014.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy and was in Pearl Harbor, Tinian, Saipan, Guam, Marshall Islands, and Okinawa. One memory he shared was when a kamikaze attacked his ship and he helped shoot it down 3 seconds before it hit their ship.
Mel had various and many jobs during his life: machinist at the arsenal before and after the war, Minneapolis-Moline, Farmall and Alcoa, with the longest being at Caterpillar Tractor Company of Mt. Joy, Iowa where he retired in 1985 as Engine Lathe Specialist. He had so many different jobs throughout his life that he could fix or build anything.
He graduated from Northwest Bible College, St. Paul, Minnesota with a BS in Biblical Studies and Missionary Medicine. Mel and Betty then went on to serve in New Tribes Mission for 16 years with 10 of those being in Brazil.
He loved to teach hunting and fishing to family and enjoyed those sports and being able to provide food for his family.
Mel wrote about a portion of his life in “The Life I Lived” and in that book his last words he typed were “The Lord was always FAITHFUL”. He loved to tell stories and especially stories of God’s saving grace, love and protection. He never tired of learning more about God and His word. Whether he was preaching from a pulpit or just visiting, sharing God’s word was his passion.
Left to honor his memory include his children, Dan (Carol) Dirksen of Bettendorf, Donna Franey of Green City, Missouri, Dawn (Steve) Hamilton of LeClaire, and Dick (Janet) Dirksen of Wyoming, Michigan; thirteen Grandchildren: Elizabeth Dirksen, Andrea (Brandon) Nelson, Casey (Tamara) Franey, Langela (Mike) Richardson, Lanida (Steve) Czecus, Lacy (Mitch) Eisenburg, Luke (Angela) Franey, Kristin (Brad) Chenoweth, Jodi Hamilton, Seth (Joslyn) Hamilton, David Dirksen, Dan Dirksen; seventeen great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Henry, Jerry, Elmer and his son-in-law, Lester Franey.
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