The Woodward News


January 28, 2014

Melvin Nix

Woodward, Okla. —

Melvin Nix, long-time Woodward businessman, passed from this life on Sunday, January 26, 2014, at Grace Living Center in Woodward, Oklahoma at the age of 99 ½ years. Graveside services will be held Wednesday January 29, 2014 at 4 p.m. in Elmwood Cemetery with Reverend Jeremy Skaggs officiating and Masonic rites given by members of the Woodward and Arnett Masonic Lodges. Arrangements are under the direction of the Billings Funeral Home.

On July 23, 1914, he was born Willard Melvin Nix, but he was always known as Melvin to everyone except the government, which preferred his first name of Willard. His parents, A.J. and Mabel (Price) Nix, farmed a mile north of Turpin, Oklahoma, in the Oklahoma Panhandle County of Beaver. Melvin grew up during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl era. He learned to drive at an early age so he was able to help neighboring farmers and drive a school bus to earn money before graduating from Turpin High School in 1932. He was a star athlete, a delegate to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago, and received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; however, he was unable to accept that opportunity and few other opportunities existed for young men in the Panhandle in those hard years.

On August 20, 1935, he decided to enter the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program. He was assigned to help create Boiling Springs State Park, which brought him to Woodward, which he never wanted to leave.

One of his jobs in the CCC was to drive a supply truck. He made weekly trips to Oklahoma City and other locations and trained as an auto mechanic. He served until March 31, 1938. After his separation he bought a service station in Woodward.

When World War II began he was working for Armour and Company, a Woodward produce firm, driving hundreds of miles a day to pick up fresh food from area farmers and bring it into Woodward. One late night in the fall of 1942 he and co-worker Andy Anderson arrived back at the dock in Woodward, and Andy announced he was joining the Navy. Melvin said, you’re not going to leave me here to do all this work, are you?” The next day they drove to Oklahoma City, and Melvin enlisted in the Army Air Corps, which later became the Air Force. That was October 26, 1942. After completing active duty, Melvin remained in the active U.S. Army Reserve until his retirement July 23, 1974.

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