Melvin M. Monette
Posted at 11:51 a.m. on Friday, September 23, 2022
April 2, 1935-Sept. 20, 2022
Melvin “Mel” Modest Monette, 87, of Cassopolis, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. His life began on April 2, 1935, the youngest of four children born to John and Emilia Monette. Mel graduated from Cassopolis High School in 1953, attended Michigan State University, and graduated with honors, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He was a member of Phi Alpha Theta (National Collegiate History Honor Society) and Phi Kappa Phi (National Collegiate Honor Society). He took graduate courses at Notre Dame University and Southwestern Michigan College where he later taught evening classes.
Mel was employed by Brandywine Public School System from 1958 until his retirement in 1991. He taught many subjects during his career – math, science, world and American history and government and served as head of the social studies department for several years. He was also head of the driver training department, a program he started during his first year at Brandywine. He was a driving instructor for 30 years.
Mel has filled many roles outside of the classroom. He served as president of the Brandywine District Teachers Association during his second year at school. He served some time as deputy director and patron of the National Honor Society from its inception in the system until his retirement. He also sponsored the Close Up program, which encouraged the study of national government in action. Mel escorted several groups of students to Washington DC where direct observation and participation in government programs took place. He was also sponsor of the senior class for several years.
Mel was an active supporter of various athletic programs, serving, at one time, as Director of Games. He was a PA announcer for basketball and football games for nearly thirty years, proud of the title he eventually received – “The Voice of Brandywine”. Mel has also worked in many other sporting events, such as wrestling and volleyball, as a timekeeper and in other positions.
Mel was a former member of the Niles Lions Club. He was a longtime member and usher of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Niles and a member of the Knights of Columbus. After his retirement and return to Cassopolis, he became a member of Our Lady of the Lake parish in Edwardsburg.
Mel enjoyed professional and college sports. He was a fan of Michigan State and Notre Dame and also followed the Chicago Cubs and Bears. He served as an usher at Notre Dame football games for over twenty years. He enjoyed bowling for several years as a member of various senior league teams.
After retirement, Mel traveled extensively. He enjoyed spending time at the cinema and going to the casino. He was an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction and particularly enjoyed reading historical works. Mel enjoyed working with his computer and had a hobby making video recordings. He loved music, especially from the 1940s to the 1980s era.
Mel was blessed with many wonderful neighbors and friends, including the late Morris Hayden, Debbie and Tony Troche, the Ken Focht family, Rudy Stevenson and Carla, the Brancaleon family, and the late Warran Marazita and his family, Chet Bonine and several other high school classmates. Mel felt blessed to have many students who later became personal friends over the years.
Mel had a very close and dear friend, Beverly Garwood, who was her special companion for many years. He also expressed special thanks to Teena Brancaleon on whom he relied and who was so helpful to him in many ways. Mel loved her pets, especially her dogs, many of which had unique names, such as Midtarish, Shy Babe, etc.
Mel is also survived by several nieces and nephews. Mel was predeceased by his parents; two sisters, Ileane Green, Dolores Bellgowan; one brother, Edmund Monette; and many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will meet on Friday, September 30, 2022, from 10 a.m. until time of funeral at 11 a.m. at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 421 North Broadway Street, Cassopolis. Mel will be buried at Calvary Cemetery in Niles, Michigan.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Wagner Family Funerals Connelly Chapel, Cassopolis. Please share a memory or message online: wagnercares.com.