July 8, 1927 – April 28, 2022
A bright smile, infectious laugh, determination and an amazingly positive attitude, these are just some of the attributes that define our father, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and friend.
Born to Norwegian farmers in Norquay, Saskatchewan, he was the second oldest of 12 siblings. Mel always enjoyed cooking and left home at a young age finding work in restaurants and bakeries. It was the beginning of a life long career where he earned the recognition of being an excellent chef and baker.
After joining the Canadian Air Force in the 1950s, he was stationed in Goose Bay where he met his wife of 54 years, Marie Rousell, who was born in Newfoundland and also came from a family of 12 children.
They would have 2 children born in Canada before Mel was sent to France on a 4-year posting. It was an adventure that Mel would always say contained some of the best experiences of his life. One of his highlights was cooking for Charles De Gaulle!
From France he took a posting to CFB Comox where they settled permanently.
After retiring early from the air force, Mel had a couple of interesting jobs including Head Chef at Bevan Lodge near Cumberland, after which he cooked in a few logging camps on the north island and the interior of BC before finally ending up as Head Chef at St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox.
He was an avid gardener and never lost his love of canning and cooking his own homegrown fruits and vegetables. Some of his specialties were his perogies, lefsa, breads, buns, jams, jellies and pickles, plus his fabulous dinners. With an inviting smile and warm welcome, many a friend was invited to share a meal with the family.
Mel was pre-deceased by his wife Marie, and by brothers: Raymond, Lorne, Harvey, his sisters, Goldie, Ruby and Donna.
He will be greatly missed by his son Jerry Gronsdahl (Esther) and daughter Bev Byerley (Bernie) as well as grandchildren; Matthew (Natasha), Sarah (Masaki) and Madison (Riley) and great grandchildren; Jenova, Ezra, Selina, Luna and Rory.
He leaves behind his brothers Doug(Mary) Gary(Elsie) Alvin(Audrey) and his sister Eunice who reside in Saskatchewan and Alberta – and many brothers and sister-in-laws, many nieces and nephews, and many, many friends.
Until we meet again.
A celebration of life will be held later in the summer.
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