Melvin Lee Cuenin, 86, of Bozeman, passed away Friday at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital from complications from an auto accident in December.
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Mel was born June 28, 1925 in Breckenridge, Colo. to Fred Dallas and Lydia (Bond) Cuenin. Melvin was raised and educated in Salida, Colo. While in high school, he lettered in football and his team won the All-Conference tournament during his senior year.
After his high school graduation, Mel served our country in the Army during World War II. He was injured in battle while trying to rescue a fellow soldier in France and was awarded the Purple Heart. Following the war he earned a degree in architectural engineering from the College of Mines in Boulder, Colo.
Mel met Hazel Mae Dittmore at the Blue Parrot in Louisville, Colo. They married in 1952 and from that union they had two children, Deborah and Gregory. The couple later divorced.
Mel later married Thora "Nickie" Hitt in 1964, and the couple moved to Bozeman in 1973 to join the Claude Wilson Company. He worked for Mark Engle in Livingston for many years as well and he retired in 2002.
Mel was an active member of the Bozeman Optimist Club.
Mel attended the veteran's reunions with his fellow platoon mates yearly. He loved fishing and the great outdoors. He was great at woodworking, and enjoyed making furniture for his home.
Mel loved taking long drives around Montana, being a tour guide of his favorite places if you happened to be in the truck with him. Another of his favorite things was eating out and he was a frequent patron at the Kountry Korner Café in Four Corners.
An all around friendly man with a great sense of humor, Mel was always ready to talk. His motto was, "Keep a right mental attitude!"
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wives and his sister, Reba.
Survivors include his daughter, Deborah Pfeifer of Girdwood, Alaska; son, Gregory Cuenin of Anchorage, Alaska; stepchildren, Vonnie Bales of San Angelo, Texas, Vanette Morris of Phoenix, Ariz.; grandchildren, Dietrich Pfeifer of Phoenix, Ariz., Donovan and wife Larissa Pfeifer of Everett, Wash.; great-grandchildren, Zoe, Quinn and Clea Pfeifer; and brother, Fred Cuenin of Arvada, Colo.
A celebration of his life will be held at 12 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19 at the Optimist Club meeting at the Bozeman Elks Lodge, 205 Haggerty Lane.
Memorials may be made in his name to Disabled American Veterans, Attention: Gift Processing, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH, 45250-0301 or www.dav.org.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 18, 2012