Cover photo for Melvin Breitbarth's Obituary
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1952 Melvin 2023

Melvin Breitbarth

June 7, 1952 — June 18, 2023



Mel Breitbarth, age 71 of Truman passed away Sunday June 18, 2023 surrounded by his loving family. A memorial service will be held 11AM Thursday June 22 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Truman with Rev. Timothy Chase officiating. Visitation will be Wednesday June 21 from 4-7PM at Zaharia Funeral Home and one hour before the service at the church. Online condolences can be left at

Melvin Jerome Breitbarth was born in Fairmont, MN on June 7, 1952 to Harold and Isabella (Urban) Breitbarth. He was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Antrim Township, Watonwan County, MN, where he attended school through 8th grade. He graduated from Truman High School with the class of 1970.

After graduation he attended Jackson Vocational School and graduated in 1972. He worked for Durwood Boesch after school and then worked for ten years at Fairmont Railway Motors. In 1986 he started welding at Hen-Way Mfg. Inc. near Northrop. In 2018 he retired after 32 years there. In 1994 he started Melmar Fabrication, Inc. in Truman, doing business with area farmers and fabrication for Hen-Way Mfg. Inc.

Mel’s love of softball led him to play with several good teams. Gopherland Cob, Rode Construction, Silker Photography, Urban Construction and the Truman Jaycee Team. It was at one of these games that he met the love of his life, Marlene Thompson. They were married in 1982. Her parents Alden and Mildred (Flatgard) Thompson farmed north of Jackson. Mel joined the Truman fire dept in 1987 and was captain of the Tanker II for many years. He enjoyed calling Bingo at the Martin County Fair for many years. He retired from the fire dept in 2009.

Next to the bingo stand at the fair, was the Truman food stand. He worked at and supervised that for the Truman Jaycees or for St. Paul’s Lutheran school PTL since 1981 when he joined the Jaycee’s. You could see him flipping a burger, frying a golden French fry or just serving a piece of pie to a deserving customer. He called out to the crowd “fresh never frozen ground beef” as they passed by.

When spring came around, he was thinking about the Minnesota Twins and the upcoming year. If not at the game with family or friends, he was watching from his recliner or listening to Dan Gladden. In between games he could be found at Dawson’s campground starting the biggest-best fire ever made, many a night with hot coals in the morning. Camping with friends became a seasonal practice for over 35 years.

He was involved with the Truman Days Committee and softball tournament for many years. He was very interested in making “Truman a great place to call home”. This led Mel to become a Minnesota Jaycee to promote Truman throughout the state, traveling to all parts of MN and making friends at every stop. In 1995 the International Jaycee’s presented Mel and Marlene with the JCI Senatorship Award which is the highest award that is given out by the Jaycee’s.

Mel is survived by his wife Marlene, daughter Billy (Darin Abel) Kiecker of Fairmont, son Austin of Garretson, SD, step-daughter Amy (Larry) Mohwinkel of St. James, step-son Mike (Jennifer) Hamelau of New Ulm, 2 grandchildren Ethan and Emma, 4 step-grandchildren Sarah (Skyler), Derek, Cody and Noah, 3 step great-grandchildren Sawyer, Samara and Sylas, sister Jeanette (Ernie) Karschnik of Forsyth, MO, brother Enos (Charlotte) Breitbarth of Fairmont, sister-in-law Marie (Mark) Newgard of Brooklyn Park, brother-in-law Allen Thompson of Lake City, TN as well as many other family members and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. Paul Lutheran School-Truman, Martin Luther High School or the Truman Fire Dept. would be appreciated.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Melvin Breitbarth, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Zaharia Family Funeral and Cremation Service

102 East Ciro Street, Truman, MN 56088

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Thursday, June 22, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. Paul's Lutheran Church

110 E 4th St N, Truman, MN 56088

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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