Irving Texas – Melvin Edward Vigen, 88, formerly of Thief River Falls, passed away Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.
Mass of Christian Burial was held Thursday, Sept. 29 at Holy Family of Nazareth Catholic Church. Interment was held at DFW National Cemetery.
Melvin Edward Vigen was born on April 1, 1928, the third of four children for Edward Vigen and Martha Moe. He was the first in the family to be born in a hospital – Mercy Hospital in Thief River Falls. Mel’s parents were farmers and spoke Norwegian at home, so when his older brothers Oscar and Bert went to school, they had to learn English.
His brothers did not want Mel to be unprepared, so they made sure that he and his younger sister Gladys learned English before starting school. Mel started at a country school, a one room building with grades one through eight and a single teacher. He learned arithmetic very well because he sat with the older students. From second grade on, he attended city schools.
In the ninth grade, Mel took a correspondence course in radios. He fixed peoples radios in order to pay for extracurricular activities. Mel was a member of the high school band for 4 years, chorus for one year, boys’ octet one year, intramural basketball two years and a member of the FFA chapter two years. In 1946, Mel graduated as valedictorian from Lincoln High School. Upon graduation, Mel entered Augsburg College, a Lutheran college in Minneapolis.
He was interested in engineering since math and science came easy for him. Electrical engineering was especially appealing since he learned about electricity when it arrived on the family farm in 1941. After one year at Augsburg, he transferred to the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks which was much closer to the family farm.
During his visits home, Mel sometimes filled in for the Pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls. He gave several sermons before graduating from college with a degree in electrical engineering. Mel was in Air Force ROTC in college and upon graduation in 1951 he received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the armament division.
Mel was a retired electrical engineer for both Collins Radio and Bell Helicopter. He was a member of Holy Family Nazareth Catholic Church in Irving.
Dad was always a gentle giant in our eyes, a loving father and devoted husband, strong in faith and character. He was a veteran, serving his country in the Air Force in both active and reserve status.
Family was always special to him and he was a family man in every sense of the word. We heard fond stories of his life growing up on the family farm in Minnesota and learned from him of our Norwegian heritage and customs.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the nurses and staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, Irving for the loving care they provided to him during his last days with us. We love you Dad and we miss you. May you find joy and peace in your eternal home.
He is survived by daughters Linda Arthur and husband Tom of Salem, S.C., Laura Price and husband Jeff of Irving, Texas, Julie Vigen of Irving; sons Mark Vigen of Irving, David Vigen of Irving, Gary Vigen and wife Glenda of Grand Prairie, Texas; and sister Gladys Hallstrom of Thief River Falls.
Mel was preceded in death by his wife Marjorie, daughter Dianna, grandson, Sean.