Melvin Rivinius

melvin rivinius

Melvin Rivinius, of Fargo, ND, Passed away on April 23, 2011 at the Waterford Care Center in Fargo, ND, at the age of 86.

Melvin was born on April 20, 1925 in Streeter ND. He was the son of Katherine (Wolff) and William Rivinius. He grew up on the Rivinius family farm near Streeter, ND with his eight sisters: Ida, Pauline, Martha, Frieda, Alice, Olga, Erma, and Irene, and his one brother Henry Rivinius. He graduated from Streeter High School in 1944.

In 1944 Melvin moved to Portland, OR and worked as a welder in the ship building industry. He returned to North Dakota in 1945 and attended Ellendale Normal School and graduated with an education degree. Melvin continued his education at Dakota Business College and AC College which is now NDSU in Fargo, ND. After completing his college education, he taught school at the Germania Township School.

Melvin and Joyce Leach were married on December 27, 1947 in Fargo and moved to Lodi, CA to begin their new life. In 1948, Melvin's love for farming called him back to Streeter where Melvin and Joyce owned and operated a successful grain and livestock business. In 1971 the Melvin Rivinius family was honored by the FHA as the North Dakota Farm Family of the year. They retired from their family farm in 1974. While living in Streeter, Melvin was involved in many organizations and served as a Board Member and the Clerk of the Streeter Grain Elevator, he was a director of the Streeter Oil Company and he served as the Clerk of Germania Township.

In 1974, Melvin and Joyce moved to Jamestown, ND, and Melvin used his building skills to build their home in Jamestown. While in Jamestown, Melvin worked for the ASCS office as a field and grain inspector. In 1981, Melvin and Joyce moved from Jamestown to Mount Horeb, WI and once again, Melvin used his building skills to build their home. While living in Mount Horeb, Melvin received his real estate license and sold real estate, and worked for Graber Manufacturing and made display cases used to show the products they manufactured. Melvin and Joyce remained in Mount Horeb until 1998 and then moved to Fargo.

Melvin was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He enjoyed many things during his life. He cherished the time he spent with his family, friends, and neighbors. Melvin was an accomplished outdoorsman and lived to hunt and fish. He enjoyed reading and listening to music, he loved working with wood to create unique keepsakes as well as building houses, and he lived attending Sunday and Church worship services to give prayer, praise and honor to his lord.

Melvin is survived by the love of his life: Joyce (Leach) Rivinius to whom he was married for 63 years; his daughters: Cindy (Dave) Huovinen, Cedar Rapids, IA, Vicki (Gerry) Tillman, Fargo, ND, Tracy (Mike) Rudish, Springville, IA, Nancy (Joe) Ruth, Clinton, IL; son-in-law: Randy Portz, Cedar Rapids, IA; sisters: Pauline Frey and Irene Opp; sister-in-law: Cecelia Rivinius; and many nephews and nieces. Melvin was blessed with eight Grandchildren: Tara, Tanya, Tiana, Melissa, Joseph, David, Adam and Andi, two step grandchildren: Sean and Brittany, and twelve great grandchildren.

Melvin was preceded in death by his parents, daughter Wendy Portz, brother Henry and sisters: Ida, Martha, Freida, Erma, Olga, and Alice.

The funeral service for Melvin Rivinius will be held on Thursday, April 28, 11:00 AM at Calvary United Methodist Church in Fargo at 4575 45th Street South. Burial will be at Cedar Memorial Mausoleum in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Melvin's family sincerely thanks the devoted and loving staff at Waterford Devonshire and Hospice Care for the wonderful help and care they provided to Melvin during illness.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Seattle WashingtonDear Joyce,
    I was saddened to read in the Forum of Melvin’s passing. I recall the pleasant visit we had in 2008 when I was in Fargo to attend my Fargo High School reunion. My mother was very close to the Rivinius family having boarded at their home when she taught country school at Streeter. You have my deepest sympathy.
    Very Sincerely, Verle Bleese

  2. Seattle WashingtonDear Joyce,
    I was saddened to read in the The Forum of Melvin’s passing. It was my privilege to have had a visit with you both in 2008 when I was in Fargo for my high school class reunion. My mother was very close to the Rivinius family having boarded at their family home when she taught country school at Streeter. You have my deepest sympathy. Mel was a wonderful person.
    I know he will be missed.
    Very sincerely, Verle Bleese

  3. Madison WisconsinDear Joyce,

    My sincerest sympathy to you and your family. We are so very, very sorry to hear of Mel’s passing. You were such a “special couple” — such wonderful people! We all missed you so much when you left Mt. Horeb.

    Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    With Love,

    Judy Olson-Sutton

  4. Mount Horeb WIIt is with deepest sadness that I read of Melvin’s passing in the Mt Horeb Mail. Also, the news of Wendy came as a shock. Kent, Rod, Dustin and I wish to extend our condolences to the family.
    We thought the highest of Melvin and enjoyed our times together. Sincerely, Jenny

  5. Mount Horeb WIDear Joyce,
    I was so sorry to hear about Mel’s passing. It seems like only yesterday you and he were here in Mount Horeb. I want you to know I’m thinking of you and your family and hoping that your many happy memories of your life with Mel will sustain you through this difficult time.
    Heidi Wittwer

  6. Moorhead MN
    Joyce and family,
    Mel will be dearly missed, he was a wonderful man and a job to know. My thoughts and prayers are with you.


  7. South Range WIDear Aunt Joyce, cousins, and families
    I was so sorry to hear of the passing of Uncle Melvin. I’m sure he will be greatly missed. Dad’s are very special people, and I am sure you will feel an empty heart but filled with wonderful memories. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you.

  8. Gackle, ND
    Joyce and Family,
    So sorry to see that Melvin passed away. I will always remember your family as one of our good neighbors
    when we both lived on farms in Streeter. My sympathy goes out to all of you.
    “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psm.116:15

  9. Fargo ND
    Dear Joyce, Vicki, Gerry, and all the family of Melvin. We are so sorry for the loss of your terrific husband, father, and grandfather. He is now sitting next to our Lord, smiling on us all, walking and talking about his days on this earth. May God bless each and everyone of you, and give you strength during these difficult times. We love you all.

    Jim and Ellen

  10. Fargo ND
    My prayers are with my Aunt Joyce and the “girls”. Melvin and his family were always there for each other. They had a closeness with each other I was always in awe of. I know how much they will miss him, but they will rest in the assurance that he is well and healthy again. He was a good and caring man and will be greatly missed.


  11. Fargo ND
    I loved taking care of Mel at Waterford. Mel had a very good sense of humor. We had alot of laughs with him and enjoyed the time we had with him. I am very sad to lose one of my very favorite residents. He will be deeply missed by all the staff at Waterford. Mel was a very special man. He was ” our blue eyes” as we often called him. I am so sorry for your loss. It was nice to meet some of Mel’s family during the night. Working nightshift we seldom meet residents families. Wish it could have been under better circumstances. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you! Take Care and God Bless.
    Tanya Steidl/CNA at

  12. Michigan North Dakota
    So sorry to hear of Melvin’s passing our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    Peter, Maria, Hannah and Nicholas Nenow

  13. My sincere condolences to Joyce and all of Melvin’s family. I will always remember him as a great neighbor with a great smile and wit. Bless you all during this most difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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