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August 22 • 05:05 AM
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Melvin Eckel

Died: Friday, February 08, 2008
Age: 88
Melvin Eckel, 88, of Imlay City passed away suddenly Friday, February 8, 2008 at Lapeer Regional Medical Center.

He was born January 31, 1920 in Metamora to August and Mary Esther (Webster) Eckel. He married Maxine Clark Ward on September 14, 1940 in Imlay City. Mrs. Eckel died in 1989. He then married Esther (Brandt) Jager in 1990 in Imlay City.

Mr. Eckel’s first profession was barbering where he learned the trade under the guidance of his father and worked in Lapeer and Metamora. In the early 1940s the Eckels bought a farm on Attica Road, growing crops and milking cows.

It was during that time when Mr. Eckel was drafted into the Army during World War II. He was stationed in the Philippines and was attached to a medic unit and also did barbering. He was awarded an Honorable Discharge on February 25, 1946.

Melvin and Maxine Eckel then purchased the Imlay City Furniture Store, located on Third Street, and owned it for 20 years, 1950-1970.

Mr. Eckel was very active in the community, giving of his time and energy for the Imlay City Chamber of Commerce, Imlay City Rotary Club, American Legion and was one of the initial members of the Imlay City Ambulance Service where he volunteered as much as possible. He also served on the committee that drafted the initial City Ordinance when Imlay City changed from a village to a city government in 1970. He also was a Past Master and life member of the Imlay City Masonic Lodge and a 32nd Degree Mason with the Bay City Consistory. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Imlay City.

Melvin was an active member of the board at Almont Community Hospital in the 1980s. There he served on many committees and fundraisers and was president and chairman of that board.

He is survived by his wife, Esther of Imlay City; daughter, Rebecca (Tony) Noriega of Imlay City; step-son, Douglas (Kathy) Jager of Florida; step-daughter, Judy (Skip) Herron of Clarkston; and three grandchidlren, Raquel Noriega of Davison, Tony (Laura) Noriega of Shelby Twp., and Cristal Noriega of Imlay City. Also two great-grandchildren, Reese Heslep and Haleigh Parrish; seven step-grandchildren; 10 step-great-grandchildren; four sisters, Dorothea Gilbert of Lapeer, Esther Graves of Hartland, Meriel Draper of Oxford and Myrtle Powell of Mio; brother-in-law, Ernest Sommer of Midland; and sister-in-law, Diane Eckel of Indiana. Mr. Eckel is preceded in death by his wife, Maxine; his parents; granddaughter, Rhonda Noriega in 1967; brother, Ross Eckel; sisters, Florence Gingell and Doris Sommer; and brothers-in-law, Deke Draper, Elmo Powell, Gerald Gilbert and Warren Gingell.

Funeral services were held Monday, February 11 at the Imlay City First Baptist Church. Pastor Gary Freel officiated with burial at the Imlay Township Cemetery.

Funeral arrangements were made by Muir Brothers Funeral Home in Imlay City.
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