Melvin Lee Gaines May 19, 1931 ~ April 7, 2022

Melvin Lee Gaines was born to Buena Elizabeth Campbell (Gaines) and William Benjamin Columbus Gaines (Lum) on May 19, 1931, in Ramah, NM. He passed away on April 7, 2022, in Blanding, UT at the age of 90.
Melvin and his parents moved to Bluff, UT in 1933. He arrived in a horse drawn wagon when Melvin was two years old. He first lived in a straw house, then moved into two hogans along the edge of the Gaines farm, before moving to the house he grew up in across from the Navajo Twin Rocks.
Melvin grew up knowing and working with many of the original Hole in the Rock settlers. Life wasn’t easy for him as he grew up. Due to a need for appendix surgery in Fort Defiance, NM, Melvin has a Navajo BIA Census Number.
Like many residents of Bluff and Blanding, Melvin was an extra in two John Wayne movies and drove John Ford and Linda Darnel around the area.
Melvin was drafted into the Army and was sent to Korea. He was taught how to shoot mortars, did guerilla combat, and was a mechanic. He was ran off a cliff, where he broke some ribs and his back.
He went to work for the Utah State Department of Transportation (UDOT), where he worked until he retired at the age of 50 in 1987. He retired after 34 years of service.
He met and married Betty Schear on January 5, 1960. Betty and Melvin were married for 58 years and were blessed with two daughters and two sons. Melvin always prided himself on taking care of his family.
In 1964, Melvin needed to have back surgery. His back was a mess. His back gave him problems for years and was a major contributor to his death.
Melvin spent his whole life as a public servant. Not only did he work for UDOT, he also worked at Bluff Elementary School as a janitor for many years. He was a volunteer fireman, maintained the fire truck, was a member on Bluff’s first water board and remained a member until his death.
He built roads and spent his whole life maintaining them. He was the town mechanic and helped all his neighbors with their plumbing issues.
Melvin is proceeded in death by his wife Betty Gaines, granddaughter Tiffany Lynn McBride, father Lum Gaines, mother Buena Gaines, and sister Fayebelle.
He is survived by his daughters Shirley Gaines, Donna (Jeffrey) Anderson, William Gaines, Brian (Melissa) Gaines, granddaughters Heather (Troy) Perry and Summer Gaines, grandsons Garett Gaines and Seamus Gaines, and great-granddaughters Winter McBride and Snow Perry.
The family wishes to thank their cousin Nancy, her son Tyler, Maidee Delorme and her two daughters Kimberly and Molly for checking up on him over the past four years.
Graveside services will be held at the Bluff Cemetery on Monday April 18, at 1 p.m. A family viewing will be held from 11:30 a.m. to noon in Blanding. A barbecue will be held after the funeral at Bluff Fort for the community.

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