Obituary: Melvin Reth


Melvin W. Reth, 94, passed away Jan. 25, 2024, at Harmony Utica Ridge in Davenport.   Visitation will take place at Eldridge United Methodist Church Feb. 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the funeral following at 1 p.m.  Melvin will be laid to rest at Oakwood Cemetery in Monticello on Friday, Feb. 2, at 11 a.m.  Memorials can be made to the Eldridge UMC Building Endowment Fund.  Chambers Funeral Home of Eldridge is assisting the family with arrangements.        

Melvin was born Sept. 26, 1929, to William C. Reth and Logina (Meiners) Reth on a farm near Delhi.  He attended Stoney Point Country School through 8th grade and then attended Delhi Consolidated School, quitting after 1½ years to work on the farm, as a mechanic, in a hardware store and drove truck for Delhi Lumberyard.  Four years later he was called by God to the ministry and went back to finish high school, graduating in 1950.  Melvin entered the University of Dubuque, majoring in Bible Studies and studying Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew.  He married Margaret Gearhart May 24, 1953.  He earned his master’s degree from Dubuque Theological Seminary.  In 1958, Melvin was ordained an Elder in the Methodist Church.

Melvin ministered in small rural churches.  All of his appointments were multi point charges.  Besides his scriptural preaching, his strengths lay in increasing church attendance, increasing financial giving and upgrading church buildings.  He served in Dubuque, Charter Oak, Ocheyedan, Miles, Quimby, Danville, Missouri Valley, Hedrick and Rudd, all in Iowa.

Melvin enjoyed being outdoors, gardening, canning and freezing garden produce, reading, woodworking, carpentry, playing games (especially 500 and Aggravation) and riding his 3-wheel trike.

Those left to honor his memory include his sons, Lynn (Laura) Reth of Eldridge, and Myron (Pam) Reth of Lancaster, Pa.; his grandchildren, Patrick (Meaghan) Reth, Brooke (Jose) Bazaldua, Sam (Katherine) Reth, Austin Reth, Mark (Maggie) Reth; and six great-grandchildren.

Those proceeding him in death include his wife and several siblings.

Condolences may be expressed to the family by viewing his obituary at



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