By Justin Seward
Fred Mellen, the brain child behind the “Down Memory Lane” column that published weekly in the Commentator since 2012, passed away Friday at the age of 86.
“I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Fred Mellen on Friday here in Bow Island,” said Mayor Gordon Reynolds.
“No was ever a bigger promoter and booster of Bow Island then Fred. He loved this community and worked hard to see it not only survive, but grow, and be successful. For many years Fred was the town’s part-time economic development officer (1988-2001).
“Part-time? That wasn’t the way Fred operated and I know that he put in far more hours than many people in full-time positions. He was tireless in his efforts to raise the town’s profile, boost local businesses and attract new ones.”
Mellen served a term as the town’s mayor that commenced in 1971, while he served on council on three separate occasions (1965-1966, 1971, and from 1976 until the end of the term).
He was also a volunteer firefighter for 17 years, he coached baseball and hockey for many years and served in various executive roles.
Him and his wife Dolly were recognized for 20 years of service to both local hockey and baseball organizations.
Mellen arrived in Bow Island in 1946 where his parents ran a grocery store. During his teenage years, he concluded high school did not do anything for him and dropped out in Grade 11, which according to his obituary interfered with his involvement in hockey and baseball.
It was during that time he met his wife Dolly and they would wed in 1956 and were happily married until she passed in 2011.
In the 1950s he worked with the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration for couple of years.
Mellen returned to the town that was close to his heart in 1954 when he was hired by Alberta Agriculture in the role of an instrument man and draftsman.
Alberta Agriculture promoted him to Technologist 4 in 1975, where continued in the irrigation district until he retired in 1988. More businesses such as the Alberta Bean Growers and Spitz came to Bow Island because of Mellen’s heavy involvement in encouraging them to come to town.
“Fred Mellen believed in public service and believed in our community passionately. He inspired, encouraged and even cajoled many to do the same; myself included,” said Reynolds.
Carol Bergdahl was a relative of Mellen’s.
“We’ve spent an awful lot of time together,” she said.
“We’re really going to miss him. He was really good company. He is very pro Bow Island and was very interested in what went on in town, even until his last days.”
His stories is what she will always remember about him.
“He had a good sense of humour,” she said.
“Old Fred, Mr. Bow Island, definitely left the Town of Bow Island a better place than when he found it and he will be missed,” said Reynolds.