Joseph (“Joe”) Leo Melchior, age 81, of Littleton, Colorado, died at Lutheran Hospice in Wheat Ridge, Colo., on Sunday, November 22, 2020.
Born in 1939 in Denver, Colo., to Joseph Conrad Melchior and Rosa Margaret Melchior, he was the oldest of his siblings, in order: Michael, Peter, Rosie, Raymond, Velma, David, and Margaret (“Maggie”). When Joe was just 9, his father died, but his aunts and uncles lovingly helped raise him. Until his dying day, he spoke often of these adoring and adored family members.
Joe spent most of his teenage years living in Grand Lake, Colo., with his Uncle Gerald and Aunt Clara Wescott, and he also benefitted from the care and affection of his uncles Ed, Cooney and Frank Melchior, and his aunts Clara Malley and Hellen Melchior. During these formative years, Joe developed his passion for the outdoors while working as a ranch hand at Hudler Ranch and as guide for tourists seeking to hunt and fish in Rocky Mountain National Park and other wild and beautiful places. He attended Granby and Englewood High Schools.
Ever the adventurer, 17-year-old Joe enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He sailed the Pacific Ocean and docked at many exotic locations. He especially enjoyed exploring Guam and later regaled his children with stories about the time that he shot a wild boar with a gun he borrowed from a local villager, and the dinner that followed. The Navy eventually stationed him in San Diego, where he met the love of his life, Frances Ann Bernosky. The two married on July 12, 1962. The were married for 52 years.
Joe was an elevator mechanic by trade, and a very proud member of the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 25 for over thirty years. He developed many personal friendships there, and often spoke of Russ, Jim, Lou, Louie, Ray, Mike, Virgil, and others.
Joe’s other great loves were hunting and fishing. Deer, elk, antelope, turkeys, ducks, geese, rabbits, and all other manner of creature and beast — none stood a chance after finding themselves on the wrong side of Joe’s firearm. His prey ended up on the dinner table, and if Joe couldn’t find a recipe, he invented one. The results were always edible (to Joe) and often delicious! A joke among family, relatives and friends was that Joe would never starve.
Not until his waning years did Joe discover his most formidable opponent – the squirrel! This noble hunter learned that, with good reason, someone cunning and elusive is described as “squirrelly.” Decked out in camo and with his .22 rifle precision ready, Joe reveled in the thrill of the hunt, waiting for his opponent to peek its head around the protection of the trunk or bough. It was man versus nature, a test of will and patience, and for Joe it was often more of an art than a hobby. The result, usually, was the untimely demise of the squirrel – and the many entertaining stories that followed. His good friend, Art Miller, could tell a hunting story or two, as could his brother Mike, Bill Melchior, Jim Brazell, and his grandsons.
Joe also loved fly fishing. His favorite fly-fishing memory, which he spoke of often, was of a trip he took with his son, David, and his friend, John, to the Arkansas river.
As far as his family knows, canines were the only species safe in Joe’s presence. His beloved dogs, Pumpkin and Missy, greatly comforted him after the death of his wife, Frances, in 2014. Joe was also preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Rosa Melchior; his brothers, Peter, Raymond and David Melchior; and his sister Rosie Simons.
Joe is survived by his brother, Mike Melchior and his wife, Carla, of Penrose, Colo.; his sister, Velma Tague, of Roswell, New Mexico; his sister Maggie Phillips, of Englewood, Colo.; his three children: David Melchior of Littleton, Colo.; Darold (“Steve”) Melchior and his wife, Charah, of Cheyenne, Wyo.; and Suzanne Bell and her husband, David, of Littleton, Colo.; his fourteen grandchildren: Michael and Mark Melchior (David Melchior); Jillian, Ian, Nathan (“Nate”), Matthew (“Matt”), Luke, Ross, Grant, Lauren, Claire and Samuel (“Sam”) Melchior (Steve Melchior); Nicholas (“Nick”) and Daniel (“Dan”) Makowski (Suzanne Bell); and his great grandchildren, Scarlet Melchior (Mark Melchior) and Amelia Makowski (Nick Makowski). Joe leaves behind numerous loving relatives and friends.
Services (Mass) will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 3, 2020, at Light of the World Catholic Church (10306 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton, Colo., 80127), followed by Interment at Ft. Logan National Cemetery (4400 W. Kenyon Ave., Denver, Colo.) at a future date yet to be determined due to present Covid-19 restrictions.
The Mass can be watched via livesteam at the following link: https://vimeo.com/483661113/4a7197d422
This link is the only way to access the livestream, and all who are interested in attending virtually are able to have that opportunity. Also after the funeral is concluded, a recording of the livestream will be available at the same link and will remain posted there and be available for download for future viewing.
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