Ivan (Ike) Mellema, age 90, died peacefully in his Gull Lake home on Wednesday, November 23, 2022. Ike was born in Merion, North Dakota on October 31, 1932, to Charles and Alice Mellema.
His mother died at a young age so Ike and his older sister, Beatrice, went to live with their aunt and uncle on a farm in Iowa. Their father, Charles, moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan to find employment.
Ike came to live with his father in Grand Rapids, Michigan for his high school years. While attending Wyoming Park High School, Ike played basketball, baseball, and ran track. After graduating from high school, he joined the Army. He proudly served his country in the Korean War for two years.
After returning home, Ike met the love of his life, Bonnie Mae O'Brien on a blind date that his friend and later business partner, set him up on. Ike and Bonnie were married one year later in East Jordan, Michigan on February 9, 1957. They lived in Grand Rapids for two years before moving to Battle Creek, Michigan where Ike and his friend, Verne DeYoung would start up EPI, a small lettershop business in a 500 sq. ft. farmhouse. Ike found his work to be a source of fulfillment and joy. For over 60 years, Ike loved going to work and took great pride in his company and employees. EPI grew over the years with his partner, Verne DeYoung, and later the addition of Bill Guzy to become the company it is today.
In 1971, Ike and Bonnie moved to Gull Lake with their children, Debbie, Mike, and Bob. In 1973; Julie was born. Ike loved the lake. He enjoyed boating, swimming, and waterskiing. He was also known to spray unexpected people on the dock with his jet ski. Ike's family was his pride and joy. Ike and Bonnie took many fun-filled family trips. Ike was also a long-standing member of St. Ann Catholic Church.
To say Ike was competitive is an understatement. He played semi-pro baseball, water skied, golfed, and bowled. He was proud of his almost perfect bowling score of 299 and kept the remaining pin in his office. Ike took up Barrel Racing horses at the spry age of 60.
Sunday morning golf with his buddies; Bud, John and Ken was a regular event. Ike found great joy in rattling his keys or jingling his pockets to intimidate or distract his golf competitorsâ¦ always with a grin on his face. Ike traveled on many golf trips with his lifelong friend, Don, and many others. He played locally at Marywood, Battle Creek Country Club and Gull Lake Country Club.
Ike was preceded in death by his wife, Bonnie; his son, Michael; grandson, Brandon and sister, Eldora Brouwer and both of his parents.
Ike spent his last years enjoying his time at home on Gull Lake surrounded by his family and wonderful caretakers. Ike is survived by his sister; Beatrice Stevenson; brother, Chuck Goulooze; and his children, Debra (Patrick) Gallagher; Robert (Mary) Mellema; Julie (Jeffrey) Smith; 13 grandchildren; and 7 great-grandchildren.
Family and friends will be received at St. Ann's Catholic Church, 12648 East D Ave, Augusta, Michigan on Tuesday, November 29th from 10:00 am- 11:00 am. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am. Ike will be laid to rest in a private ceremony at Yorkville Cemetery immediately following the funeral.
Memorial contributions in Ike's honor may be directed to the Gull Lake Community Schools Foundation, Centrica Care Navigators â Hospice Services or St. Ann's Catholic Church.
Arrangements are by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Cremation Preneed Care Richland Chapel. Personal messages for the family may be placed above in the Memory Book at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.