NORMAN — Melvin George Oxsen, 89, passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, sitting in his favorite chair with a notepad and a book. He died peacefully in his sleep. We are comforted that he is with the Lord now, and was greeted in Heaven by his wife Miriam and daughter Cheryl. The peaceful manner of his death is a blessing for which we thank God.
Melvin was the third and last child of George and Laura Anne (Goodrich) Oxsen. He was born on July 25, 1924, in Oakland, Calif. Melvin’s brother Lowell (Bud) was two years older, and his sister Norma was five years older. When his father was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1926, the family moved to the Daggett Ranch in the Mojave Desert, hoping the dry air would be good for George’s health. Nevertheless, Melvin’s father passed away in 1927.
Four years later in 1931, his mother married Onbey “Mack” McMickell, and they moved to Ludlow, Calif. Melvin said that Mack raised all the children like his own kids and was a very good father and husband, and they loved him as a father. Work was hard to find, and so the family moved where and when opportunity arose. In the summer of 1932, Mack was hired by the California Highway Department, and they moved to the Newberry Highway Camp.
Norma was bused 50+ miles to high school in Barstow, and Bud and Melvin rode a bus to Fairview Grammar School near Newberry, as did Miriam Staudinger (his future wife). The McMickell-Oxsen and Staudinger families became good friends, and there is a picture of Melvin at Miriam’s 8th birthday party taken on April 25, 1935.
But when the Staudinger’s visited the Oxsen’s in 1941, Melvin said he was smitten by the beautiful young Miriam. Melvin had cut his arm quite badly at school that same day, and it had to be stitched up by a doctor in town. Therefore, he had a bandage on his arm when the Staudinger’s visited. Melvin pushed Miriam in a swing even with his bandaged arm. After that visit, Melvin decided to begin writing Miriam on a regular basis to keep her aware of him and his affections. Forty-one years later, Miriam mentioned him pushing her in that swing in a card she gave Melvin on their 36th wedding anniversary.
In the intervening five years between Miriam’s 14th and 19th birthday, Melvin graduated high school, joined the Army Air Corp, trained as a navigator in B-24 bombers and flew 29 missions from Dec. 28, 1944, to April 24, 1945, and continued writing to Miriam the whole time. After the war ended, Melvin returned from Italy to the states and courted Miriam in earnest; they were married on June 16, 1946, at Long Beach, Calif.
Melvin was released from the Air Corps in Dec. 1946, but was recalled by the Air Force in Jan. 1949 to fly in the Berlin Airlift. With the end of the Berlin blockade in Sept. 1949, Melvin was released from the Air Force in Jan. 1950.
So Melvin decided to get a degree in engineering and began his studies at San Diego State College. After two years, he transferred to the Colorado School of Mines where he earned a degree in geological engineering in 1954. Upon graduating, his first job as a geologist was for Lion Oil Company in Salt Lake City. Melvin later worked for Continental Oil Company for many years, as well as several other independent oil companies in Oklahoma before retiring after more than 40 years as a petroleum geologist.
Melvin and Miriam were married 62 years. Melvin often stated that Miriam made his life worth living and marrying her was the best thing he ever did. Melvin’s children and grandchildren were the joy of his life, and his eyes sparkled whenever he talked about them. He was so proud and delighted in all his children and grandchildren, and commented often that he was grateful for such a wonderful family.
Melvin was an active member of Covenant Life Church in Oklahoma City. He also was a faithful volunteer in the Whiz Kids program in Oklahoma City, a faith-based one-on-one volunteer tutoring/mentoring program for students in 1st through 6th grade.
Melvin was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Lowell; his sister, Norma Daniels; his daughter, Cheryl; wife, Miriam; and daughter-in-law, Patricia Lovell Oxsen.
Melvin is survived by sons, Frank Oxsen and wife Andrea of Strasburg, Va., George Oxsen and wife Teresa and Russell Oxsen and wife Linda, both of Norman; grandchildren, Adam Oxsen and wife Sherise, Mark Oxsen and fiancé Hannah Garrison, Kevin Oxsen and wife Lana, Nishay Oxsen, Kristen Hickman and husband Jake, David Lovell, and Nikki Quigley and husband Patrick; ten great-grandchildren and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and extended family and friends.
Melvin was a steadfast and faithful husband and father, and a great example and role model for his family to follow. Melvin enjoyed a good movie, but loved to read – everything. If anyone ever asked Melvin a question about any topic, he had invariably read something about it, and he could give an answer and talk intelligently about it. Melvin’s hugs and discussions on all of those myriad of subjects will be greatly missed. Melvin, you were the best, give Cheryl and Miriam a hug from all of us — we love you.
Services will be 10:30 a.m. Monday at Havenbrook Funeral Home chapel, 3401 Havenbrook Street, Norman, with interment following at IOOF Cemetery, Norman. Visitation will be from 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Arrangements for Melvin and his family were placed in the care of the Vice family at the Havenbrook Funeral Home of Norman. Online condolences may be shared at HavenbrookFuneralHome.com.
Norman Transcript, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013