Born prematurely to Tillie Ann and Melvin Arndt on September 8, 1947, their tiny son was definitely not the most beautiful baby. Given the circumstances, his mother jokingly nicknamed him “Cork.” To this day, that is how he has always been known to his extended family.
Mel passed away on January 15th, in the gentle care of Hospice of Northwest Ohio. We are grateful to them for their kindness and support. Mel is survived by his younger sister, Sue, and his loving companion, Shari. Mel was preceded in death by his parents; his younger brother, Bob; and his many “furbabies.”
Mel had the most curious mind of any person I’ve ever known. His interests and talents were those of a true Renaissance Man. He was a carpenter, photographer, specialty letterpress printer, computer builder and repairman, baker, cook, brewer, and gardener. He was an avid train collector and amateur railroad historian. He loved art and music and travel. His mind never stopped questioning, and his enthusiasm for knowledge and friendship were boundless. He loved children and looked forward to bringing them joy each Christmas as Santa.
Mel loved meeting and talking with people and obtained his HAM radio license in 1961 as WN8BYX and currently broadcast as W8QO. Mel was the current president of the Quarter Century Wireless Association, Chapter 142.
Some of Mel’s favorite years as a young man were spent as manager of Toledo’s iconic college bar, the Tabard Inn, back in his “psychedelic youth.” It was so much fun! From there, he moved on to significantly more responsible endeavors, working for NASA, in Cleveland. He later went on to assist with computerizing the plant and office operations of the Campbell Soup Company, in Defiance, OH, retiring in 2007. Never ready to actually retire, he started his own small independent printing company, Willowdell Press, in Toledo. He remained active in the Amalgamated Printers Association until the end.
Mel was a graduate of Whitmer High School, class of 1965, where he was a total science and math geek. After some time on the Engineering track at The University of Toledo, he decided the very structured life, in those days demanding a dress shirt and tie, was definitely not his style. He switched his major to Art. Mel specialized in photography, printmaking, stained glass and the crafting of fine furniture.
Active for decades in the German-American community in Toledo, Mel served as a past president of the German-American Festival Society, and treasurer of the German-American Festival. He was past president of the German Benevolent Association, the Bavarian Sports Club, and a longtime president of the Bayerischer Unteratützungs Verein. Proud of his heritage, Mel traveled numerous times to Germany. He particularly loved its people and its hearty food. He had been hoping for one more visit to Bavaria and that wish will be fulfilled.
Mel worked hard, played hard, enjoyed life, and shared so much love. He will be deeply missed. Sue and Shari invite you to join with other friends and family for a celebration of Mel’s life, honoring him on Sunday, February 18, from 2:00-6:00 pm at the Oak Shade Hall in the Chalet, 3624 Seaman Road, Oregon, OH.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or another charity of your choice.