Melvin Lester DeFoe
April 4, 2023
Melvin Lester DeFoe
1940 - 2023
Melvin Lester DeFoe 82, passed away surrounded by his loved ones until the very last moment on Thursday, March 30th, 2023 in Cloquet. He was one of thirteen children born to Joseph and Elizabeth (Colburn) DeFoe on June 12th,1940. He was a proud member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
When Melvin was six years old he and his siblings attended Pipestone Indian Boarding School, in Pipestone, Minnesota. He completed elementary school in pipestone and then returned home and attended Cloquet public schools until he enlisted in the U.S Army in 1958. He served from 1958 to 1961 in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division, making a total of 21 jumps. He spent a year in Korea, post-conflict.
Melvin returned back home to Fond du Lac after an honorable discharge from the U.S Army. He went to many vocational schools until he found what he truly loved and became a master carpenter. He worked for several large contractors in the area as well as working independently until retirement. He was especially proud of creating his own all native crew that worked on many projects in the area.
Melvin was a perfectionist, he took great care in the things he did, took his time and always went above and beyond. He loved to laugh, joke, and visit with his friends and family. He was kind, caring, and compassionate. If Melvin didn't answer his phone, you knew where to find him. He would be mowing his yard, never allowing a dandelion to pop up and keeping it to under one inch. He also enjoyed going to the casino, traveling, and having family dinners.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Elizabeth; siblings Edith, Ramona, Delores, Alvina, Bernadine, Elaine, Phylis, Harvey, Kenny, Harold, Vernon; and son Timothy Diver.
He was survived by his wife, Carolyn; children, Troy Luomala, Melanie (Dale) Sautbine, Todd (Rachel) DeFoe, Tara (Jonathan) Kimmel, Cindy DeFoe, Melvin (Janelle) Barney, Joey (Rachel) Barney, Danny (Jamie) Barney, Frank DeFoe, Erin (Alana) Lemieux DeFoe, and Jeroam (Jennie) DeFoe; step-son, Noah "Brian" Peterson; sisters, Dorothy Cooley and Nancy (Hank) Seppala.
He is also survived by his many beloved grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
A celebration of life and military rites will be held on Thursday, April 6th, 2023 at the Fond du Lac Cultural Center at 3PM. All are encouraged to come celebrate Melvin's life, share a meal, memories and stories.
Celebration Of Life
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Thursday, April 6, 2023
Fond du Lac Cultural Center
1713 Mizhakii Road
Cloquet, Minnesota, United States