Melvin Elwin Gourdin passed away peacefully on August 8, 2020 in his home in St George, Utah surrounded and supported by his family and loved ones. He lived a life of service and leadership for his country and his church.
Mel was born on November 4, 1933, in Columbia, Utah to Eli Gourdin and Bessie Elliott Gourdin. When he was five years old, the family moved to Southern California, where Mel grew up, graduating from North Hollywood High School. Mel attended Brigham Young University, earning a degree in communications. He joined the Air Force as an officer and married his college sweetheart, Diane Ellsworth, in 1955, two months after graduation. Mel and Diane served their first tour of duty in Japan. After their initial stint, Mel left the Air Force and taught high school in Tucson, Arizona. However, he soon returned to service with the Air National Guard and on active duty with the Air Force, serving in posts around the U.S. from the Arizona Air National Guard to the Pentagon to Barksdale and Wright Patterson Air Force Bases. Mel retired as a full colonel from the United States Air Force after thirty years of service to his country.
Mel was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for his entire life, with a strong testimony of his faith in Jesus Christ. He served in many positions of leadership in the church including Bishop of the Fairborn Ward, Dayton Ohio Stake; Stake President of the Dayton Ohio East Stake; and Mission President of the California San Bernardino Mission. Mel and Diane were later called again into service, first as proselytizing missionaries in the Ivory Coast in Africa, and later as liaison missionaries at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Together, Mel and Diane traveled thousands of miles directing young missionaries with love and compassion.
After Diane’s death in 2017, Mel remarried DeeAnn Couture and they had two happy years together. Mel is survived by his wife DeeAnn; four children, Robert Gourdin (Cindy), Leslie August (Ken), Paul Gourdin (Joanne), and Sarah Snyder (Greg); three step-children, Amy Hill, Brad Hill, and Ricia Montgomery; eighteen grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren.