Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

M. J. "Mel" Dietz


May 3, 2016

Long time Worland resident Milford John "Mel" Dietz passed away at his home in Worland on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at the age of 90 years.

Mel was born at the "Old Stone House" outside of Joliet, Montana on May 17, 1925. He was a son of Pauline (Woitt-Schleining) and Jacob H. Dietz. He was the sixth born of thirteen children to the German-Russian family.

Mel attended country schools around Joliet and Edgar, and graduated from Bridger High School. He told wonderful stories of having his own ditch water to change in the fields, and learned the importance of hard work at a young age. He worked side-by-side with his Grandfathers Dietz and Schleining hoeing, digging, and tossing sugar beets into the old trucks while trying to keep up with them. In 1942 Mel took his first trip to Worland for an FFA school trip.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army shortly after the age of 18 to serve in World War II. He waited until the crops were all in before reporting to basic training in Fort McClellan, Alabama. In 1946 just 16 days before his 21st birthday he was discharged from the Army and headed back to Montana where he returned to farming with his parents.

Mel moved to Billings, MT where he met Lois M. Beckman, a girl from Roundup, MT, who was working in an office with Mel's brother, Harold. They married on June 18, 1950 in Billings, Montana. They have been married for 65 years.

Mel and Lois moved to Worland in 1953 where they started Mel's OK Tire Store, eventually becoming a partner in the business with his brother, Bob Dietz. He was a businessman for 30 years, providing tires for cars, trucks, and farm equipment.

Mel loved gardening, fishing, hunting, supporting his daughters in 4-H, and traveling the country. He enjoyed snowmobiling in the Big Horn Mountains, and in his later years he bowled with his buddies. During their years of marriage, he and Lois traveled back and forth on weekends to Roundup where they took care of the ranch that belonged to her family.

When he retired from the tire store he decided he needed a project, so he bought some apartments in the community that needed repair. Before he knew it, he was a landlord of 15 units. He was busy from the age of 67 to 82 mowing lawns and making general repairs.

Mel is survived by his wife Lois Dietz of Worland; by his daughters Diane Tippets and Artis (Brad) Averett of Worland and Marilyn (John) Hurless of Billings, MT; by his grandchildren Aimee (Rajorshi) De, Aaron (Kari) Losey, Mark (Kristen) Averett, Arna (Aaron) Vick, Sheri Averett, Craig (Leah) Hurless, and Nathan (Amy) Hurless. He is also survived by many great grandchildren, and by three sisters: Violet Davis, Barb Long, and Betty (Dick) Martinson.

Veile Mortuary of Worland assisted the family with the cremation. No services are planned at this time.


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