American Patriotic 10

Bernie Joe Melvin

August 1, 2020


Bernie Joe Melvin (BJ) went home to be with the Lord on August 1, 2020. BJ was born June 16, 1947 in Fairbury, NE to Max Gerald Melvin and Katie (Schanze) Melvin. BJ grew up in Fairbury on the family acreage until he was in fifth grade when the family moved to Manhattan, KS. He graduated from Manhattan High School in 1965.

He had a one-year stint playing football at Kansas State University and then joined the Marines. After a tour in Vietnam as Marine Recon he was sent to Detroit, MI to do recruiting where he met his wife Gracemary Valchine. Shortly after the birth of their son Lonnie they moved to Colby, KS in 1969. After attending Colby Community College he began working with the Urban Renewal Project in Colby. He enjoyed real estate so much he made it his career for many years: this included serving as the President of the Kansas Association of Realtors in 1991.  He was a member of the VFW and the American Legion in Colby and coached the American Legion baseball team when his brother played and again when his sons played.

BJ loved golfing and was very involved at Colby Country Club for several decades, even helping run the pro shop and cooking at the Club. He also deeply loved his sons and followed them all over the country watching golf, baseball, football and any other activities they were doing. He was always encouraging and was their biggest fan. In his later years BJ moved to Norton, KS, where he worked at Norton Correctional Facility with Aramark--he often commented on how he liked working with the inmates. He thoroughly enjoyed following the Norton Bluejays and his grandchildren. BJ was a member of the Norton Christian Church and made the decision to rededicate his life to Christ by getting baptized on June 2, 2019.

BJ was preceded in death by his father Max Melvin and is survived by his mother, Katie Melvin of Colby, KS; his brother, Roger Melvin of Elbert, CO, and two nephews (Roger Jr. of Pueblo West, CO and family and Ryan of Las Vegas, NV and family); son Lonnie of Casa Grande, AZ, and three children (Valerie, Gracie and Lillie); Lucas and wife Angela of Norton, KS and five children (Alec and Tyler Anderson and great grandson, Micah, Miah and Freddie Haines, Kade, Tyce and Noah) and, Len and wife Summer of Hays, KS, (and daughters Aspen, Willow and Lendyn).

A Celebration of Life will be held at Norton Christian Church in Norton, Kansas at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday August 5. The family will be available for visitors beginning at 9:00 a.m. Graveside services with military honors will be held at Beulah Cemetery in Colby, Kansas at 2:00 p.m. that afternoon.

In lieu of flowers, the family is hoping you will consider giving to one of the following ministries. BJ loved Jesus and Men’s Encounter was very special to him. In addition, he had a heart and passion for those who served or are serving. We kindly ask you consider giving to one of the following organizations on behalf of Dad.

NWKS Men’s Encounter ℅ Norton Christian Church, 208 N Kansas Norton, KS 67654 or Patriots of Praise 1300 Douglas Drive Hays, KS 67601

Arrangements in care of Brock's-Keithley Funeral Chapel and Crematory 2509 Vine Hays, KS 67601.

Condolences may be left by guest book at or by email at

To send flowers to Bernie Joe Melvin's family, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
August 5, 2020

10:00 AM
Norton Christian Church
208 North Kansas
Norton, KS 67654

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