A racecar driver. A salesman. A husband. A father. A grandfather. A great-grandfather.
He was a NASCAR fanatic. A Minnesota Vikings fanatic. He loved to play card games, from Go Fish to Rummy, but he'd cheat (and win) at every single one. He was a father figure to many people in his life; he provided love, assistance and guidance.
He'd sit down for breakfast and eat half a watermelon, with it sitting on a plate like a big red bowl, and he'd scoop out chunks with a spoon. Then later, he'd point at his rounded belly and warn us kids not to eat the watermelon seeds, or else our belly would look like his.
He was old school. When the boys were naughty, he'd warn that he was going to use his belt. When the girls were naughty, well, not much would happen. Maybe a raised voice.
He always said "I love you" first when hanging up on the phone. When he smiled at you, there was always a cliché, but very genuine twinkle in his eye.
He was stubborn. He was opinionated. He was stern. He was a hard worker. He was a loving grandpa who always told me I was his "favorite." (I never found out if that's something he told all nine of us.)
My grandfather was a lot of things. To me, he'll always be Grandpa Mel.
April 8, 1929 - November 17, 2017