Looking for a particular obituary?

Obits submitted to The Gazette are published online and in the newspaper the next day.

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

Melvin Happel


Melvin G. Happel, 88, of Victor, died Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City because of injuries suffered in a car accident.
A visitation will be held at Smith Funeral Home in Victor on Thursday, Dec. 28, from 2 to 7 p.m. Family will be present from 4 to 7 p.m. The funeral service will be held at St. James Lutheran Church in Victor on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 1:30 p.m. Burial will be in Victor Memorial Cemetery.
Mel was born Sept. 20, 1929, to Paul Happel and Emma (Boettcher) Happel. He graduated from Van Horne High School in 1946. Shortly after, he was employed by Van Horne Savings Bank. Mel worked there until 1960, when he accepted the position of bank president at Farmers Savings Bank in Victor, a position he held until the time of his death. Mel worked in banking for 72 years.
Mel married Maxine Braksiek on Dec. 13, 1952, at St. John Lutheran Church in Keystone, Iowa. Mel often referred to this day as the "greatest day of his life." This year Mel and Maxine celebrated their 65th anniversary.
From 1948 to 1954, Mel was a member of the Army Reserves.
Mel was a member of St. James Lutheran Church in Victor, where he was chairman of the congregation for several years.
Mel always was known for being an avid sports fan. One of the many joys of his life was watching his children and grandchildren participate in athletics. No matter where the events were held, Mel would be there. Baseball was Mel's favorite sport, and he made many contributions to it. For 27 years, Mel was a high school and college umpire. He was so well respected that he was inducted into the Iowa High School Baseball Hall of Fame. It was an accolade that he took great pride in. Mel also coached several years of Little League and Pony League Baseball at HLV. Mel also was a die-hard fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes, New York Giants and his beloved New York Yankees.
Family always was most important in Mel's life. He never missed an opportunity to tell everyone how much he loved them, and always found time to tell everyone how proud he was of them. He took pride in many things, but nothing more than the joy that family brought him. Every member of the family meant the world to him, and he meant the world to his family.
Mel is survived by his loving wife, Maxine; daughters, Carol (David) Prather and Cindy Happel, both of Victor; son, Gary Happel of Ladora; five grandchildren, Chris (Amber) Furler, Greg and Shawn Prather, Tyler (Samantha) Happel and Tawny (Sean) Schafbuch; and six great-grandchildren, Lincoln, Landon and Pierson Furler and Malcolm, Quinn and Colin Happel.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Robert; and sister, Marie.
Memorials may be directed to St. James Lutheran Church (Victor) or HLV Booster Club.