Melvin Victor Unger

Monday, March 20, 2017

Melvin Victor Unger

Nov. 23, 1922 - March 19, 2017

McCOOK, Neb. — Melvin Victor Unger was called by God to his heavenly home on Sunday, March 19, 2017.

He was born Nov. 23, 1922, to German immigrants from Russia, Gustav and Lydia (Schaffert) Unger. He was baptized into the Christian faith at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Ash Creek. At the age of 14, he was confirmed in the Lutheran faith. Melvin worked on the family farm until moving to McCook. In 1944, he began a 42-year career working as an engineer for the Union Pacific, Burlington Northern and Amtrak railroads. He also took the last steam train out of McCook (the Centennial Train) in 1976. He held offices as secretary and treasurer of the Brotherhood of Local Firemen and Enginemen.

In 1948, he built, owned and operated McCook’s first roller-skating rink until 1960.

He was drafted into the United Stated Army and served bravely in the Korean War. He was wounded at Pung Nanni during battle and was honorably discharged receiving the Purple Heart of Honor. Melvin was a proud American and was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service on the front line of battle.

On April 5, 1953, he was united in marriage to Glenva Eland at Trinity Lutheran Church, Arapahoe. Mel was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend. He was a faithful man of God and was a member of Peace Lutheran Church for 81 years. For several years he faithfully served as congregation president, Elder and Sunday School superintendent, and was an officer and member of International Lutheran Laymen’s League and the Hofmann Society. He joined with Trinity Lutheran to start the first Lutheran Mission in Kingston, Jamaica.

As a good father, he spent many hours with his sons fishing, hunting, skiing, camping and golfing. He shared with them his values of honesty, hard work, and commitment. After retirement in 1986, he and Glenva enjoyed traveling and rarely missed a ball game or school function of their grandchildren. They spent winters in California and several weeks at their time-share in Estes Park, Colo. There wasn’t a job around the house or church he wasn’t willing to tackle. His kindness and generosity will be missed and are legacies he passed on to his children and grandchildren.

Melvin is survived by his wife of 64 years, Glenva; sons, Dave (Patricia), and Dan of McCook, and Garry (Leigh Ann) of Orange, Calif. He is also survived by grandchildren, Angela (Justin), Chance (Lora), Brittany and Tanner, as well as great-grandchildren, Olivia, Elianna, Hailee, John Paul and Von. He is survived by two sisters, Evelyn Wagner (Dale) of Thornton, Colo., and Erma Greenlee of Spearfish, S.D.; sisters-in-law, Doris Howard, Marlene Unger, and brother-in-law, Neal Callan, as well as 21 nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Anita Callan, Phyllis Clapp, and Willis Unger.

Visitation will be Wednesday, March 22, 2017, from 1 to 7 p.m. at Herrmann Jones Funeral Chapel in McCook. Friends may send condolences to the family at

The Rite of Christian Burial will be at Peace Lutheran Church, Thursday, March 23, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Brett Hinrichs officiating. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.

Memorials are being accepted for KNGN Radio Station.

Herrmann-Jones Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.