Melvin LaVern Kuklenz was born June 22, 1933, to Clarence Herbert and Lucy Mary (Collier) Kuklenz at Fonda on the farm now owned by the Louis Stauter family. Melvin lived his entire life at Fonda. He was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran Church June 18, 1939 by Rev. A.W. Matthias. He joined the Fonda Presbyterian Church on March 25, 1951 by Confirmation of Faith. He graduated from the Fonda Public School in 1951.
Following graduation, he worked for Marvin Ninneman as a farm hand. On Feb. 11, 1954 he enlisted in the Army. He served his country overseas in Korea following the Korean Conflict operating heavy equipment, rebuilding and repairing road damage around Pusan. After receiving an honorable discharge on Feb. 11, 1956, he returned to Fonda.
On Sunday, Feb. 26, 1956, he was united in marriage to Lyla Jean Christensen at the Fonda Presbyterian Church by Rev. John H. K. Moffitt. To this union five children were born - Denise Marjean, Diane Maureen, Douglas Michael, Dawn Melene and Dustin Maryl. He worked again for Marvin Ninneman, helped manage Merle Rubendall's cattle feeding operation, worked for Lyla's uncle Harley Smith Sr. at Smith's Skelley Service Station and McCreery's Auto all in Fonda and Carver Motors in Rockwell, City. Following retirement he worked part time for Brian's Repair in Fonda.
He enjoyed woodworking, cutting firewood, candlelight, gospel, country, bluegrass and polka music. Many weekends and vacations were spent camping with his family. He always took his "Bucket Boss" with him when he visited his daughter's homes as they always had something for him to repair. The U.S. flag was always lowered at his home to half staff for an Iowa Veteran's funeral. He served his church faithfully in every aspect. He belonged to the Fonda Fire Dept., served as Director of Fonda Credit Union, was a member of the Cedar Twp Cemetery board and served on the Fonda City Council.
He was preceded in death by his father 1950; mother 1996; stepfather Lynn Hersom 1993; sister Bonnie Jean 1997; son-in-law Robert Kennedy 2009; his in-laws Carl and Marjorie Christensen; and grandparents Edwin and Hazel Collier and Chris and Louisa Kuklenz.
Melvin is survived by his wife of 56 years, Lyla; daughters: Denise and David Veencamp of Madrid; Diane Kennedy of Jefferson; and Dawn and Wade Andersen of Huxley; sons: Douglas and Deirdre Kuklenz of The Colony, Texas; and Dustin and Karen Kuklenz of Crystal, Minn.; grandchildren: John, Joel, Kristen and Ryan Veencamp, Nathan Kennedy, Karl Kuklenz, Jill (Josh) Elliott and Jackie (Jonathan) Kiefer, and Kara, Kelli and Evan Andersen; great-grandson Andrew Elliott. Other survivors include his sister and brother-in-law Pauline and George Ridge, Topeka Kan.; uncle Robert Collier; aunt Alice Collier; several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.