Melody Margaret Derleth, 86, passed away peacefully in her family home on Walnut St. in Beaver Dam on August 14, 2021. Melody was born June 1, 1935, the daughter of Henry H. Derleth and Violet Van Sant Derleth in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. She attended grade school in Fox Lake, Horicon, and Beaver Dam and graduated from Beaver Dam High School in 1953. After high school, Melody followed her father’s footsteps and pursued a teaching degree attending and graduating from UW Whitewater. Her degree was in Elementary and Middle School Mathematics. She began her teaching career in Racine School system. After 3 years, she accepted a teaching position in Middleton at Parkside Heights Middle School. After a couple years there, Melody moved to the West Bend Middle School where she taught Mathematics for 30 plus years to hundreds of students. Many of her students in all three of her teaching stops became close, lifelong friends who stayed in touch. Her classrooms were always decorated in a way that made it fun for the students to be in her classroom, from sports themes to the latest popular craze.
Melody had many interests; Playing golf, attending UW Wisconsin football games, making homemade bread, popcorn balls at Christmas, and sending Birthday, Holiday, Anniversary Cards to each and all her brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces. She was the one and only Aunt Mel to all of them. Golf and being a diehard Wisconsin Badger fan were two of her favorite pursuits. She started attending all home UW football games in 1958 when her brother, Hank, began playing for the Badgers, and continued attending all home games for the next 60 years, in all kinds of weather. She also traveled to away games and was able to attend at least one game in every Big Ten stadium and attended the 1960 Rose Bowl. Melody was chosen as the Ultimate UW Football Fan by Inside Wisconsin Sports Magazine in 2007.
Her love of sports didn’t end with football. She followed/cheered/supported UW basketball and Hockey teams, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Green Bay Packers and more. The Wisconsin State Journal and Beaver Dam Daily Citizen papers were delivered and read every day, especially the Sports section. Golf was her passion; she was member and a charter member of the Sunset Hills Golf Club’s Ladies Day. One year, she played 9 or 18 holes of golf for 67 consecutive days, some days in iffy weather. She loved being on the golf course. Long drives were not her forte but she was pretty much always in the fairway and was very good with her putter. Her love of life didn’t end with sports. She had many interests.
Melody, along with her family, enjoyed summer vacations at Little Silver Lake near Wild Rose. She loved going to the family cottage on Fox Lake to enjoy the peace and quiet, cook outs, and fun with family and friends. She and her Friend Cecilia “Brite” Rheen made many road trips around northern Wisconsin. Several of them to Aldridge Lake near Eagle River to spend time with Hank and his wife Gretchen. After “Brite” passed away, Mel’s sister Linda became her traveling partner. Melody was blessed with a large and amazing group of friends who filled her life with joy and fulfilment. A most important part of Melody’s life was her family; brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. She was always present at family gatherings and for many years was the “family photographer”. In between family gatherings, she maintained contact with all and kept all informed, at times traveling to California and Washington to visit family and bring news back to the Wisconsin families. Melody led a life that helped all understand the true meaning of family.
Melody had a huge heart and was a giving person both with her time and money. She was always available and willing to listen. She had several charities that were dear to her and she established an annual award to a graduating senior from Beaver Dam High School in her father’s name. She was an in home care giver for her mother, Violet, for several years and visited with her Mom every day when Mom had to move to an assisted living facility. For many years, she provided special boxes of homemade goodies (bread, candy, pies and her special made peanut brittle) for the “deer hunters” and family members at Christmas.
Melody is survived by her brother, Hank Derleth (Gretchen) of Berlin, Wis., her sister Linda Derleth of Beaver Dam, Wis., 12 Nieces and Nephews, and 15 Great Nieces and Nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Violet Derleth, sisters Carol Hartl and Kim Derleth, brother Frank Derleth, and niece Heidi Hussli Nouri.
Melody was a member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Beaver Dam.
Melody had a good long active life. During the past year, due to health issues, she was not able to pursue her regular routine and had to stay at home. Her stay at home was made possible and positive due to her caregivers, including her sister Linda, who became her cook, driver, prescription provider, and coordinated the caregiver’s schedules. The family is very grateful to the loving caregivers and numerous friends that visited; a special thank you to all!
Due to the COVID-19 environment, a private family service will be held for Melody at Koepsell-Murray Funeral Home in Beaver Dam with Rev. Christopher Davis officiating. Inurnment will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Melody’s name may be written to her family and will be donated to the H.H. Derleth Scholarship Award. On behalf of the family, donations can be mailed to: Koepsell-Murray Funeral Home, N7991 N. Crystal Lake Road, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin 53916.
The Koepsell-Murray Funeral Home in Beaver Dam is serving the family. Online condolences will be made at www.koepsellfh.com.