ALGONA — Melvin James Ricklefs was born Sept. 17, 1930, in Titonka on the family farm, the son of Harry and Tressie (Spear) Ricklefs. He grew up in Titonka and attended Titonka Country School through the eighth-grade. Melvin then started farming with his dad. He farmed the century farm until his retirement in 1998. He milked cows, raised chickens, and grew corn and soybeans. He loved farming, and every family gathering included conversation about the crops.
On Jan. 27, 1952, Melvin was united in marriage to Loretta Miller at the Methodist Church in Fenton. They lived on the family farm until moving to Algona in 1981. Before moving to Algona, Melvin had lived in the same house for 51 years. Together they enjoyed dancing and wintering in Texas for 30 years.
He enjoyed building tractors out of old sewing machines, driving around checking crops, visiting with friends, dancing, yard work and gardening. He could be found “junkin” at many thrift stores looking for old sewing machines to turn into a tractor. Melvin also enjoyed himself a bowl of ice cream every night.
Melvin was a loving and devoted husband. He was Loretta’s caretaker until she moved into assisted living in the fall of 2017. From that point he went to see her every day.
Melvin died Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, at his home in Algona. He was 88.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Loretta; children, Larry (Jo) Ricklefs of Algona, Linda (Gary) McEwen of Eldora, Roger (Kathi) Ricklefs of Algona, Marilyn (Dale) Johnson of Humboldt, and Lori (Tim) Linahon of Newton; 12 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; sister, Betty Phelps of Titonka; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Harold (Mildred); Vernon (Darlene); and brother-in-law, Leroy Phelps.
A funeral service for Melvin will be held at 10:30 a.m., on Friday, March 8, at the First Presbyterian Church, Algona. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., on Thursday, March 7, 2019, at Oakcrest Funeral Service, Algona. Burial will be in Riverview Cemetery. Online condolences may be left at www.oakcrestfuneralservices.com.