Log in

Submit a memorial

Celebrate your loved one’s life in a way that’s as independent as they were – in the Daily Independent and on YourValley.net. Share fond memories, photos and information on celebrations of life using our easy, step-by-step process.

David James Melena


David passed away very peacefully on May 14, 2023 at his home in Sun City AZ in the arms of his wife, at the young age of 92. He had lung cancer for over 3 years. David was born on March 7, 1931 near Howells NE to James and Helen (Reznicek) Melena. The family lived in Howells, Hayward CA and Omaha NE. After graduation, he worked as a surveyor for Kirkham and Michaels. In 1950 he was employed by Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. as an installer/repairman. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 and trained as a munition expert. His group was sent to Germany and France to clean up old bombs and to build a munitions depot there.
David married Joann Gibson in September 1951 and she joined him in France in 1952. He was honorably discharged in 1955 obtaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. After returning to the United States, he went back to work at the telephone company in Omaha, joined the marketing department in 1971 and in 1984 joined a marketing division of AT&T retiring in March 1987 on his birthday while in Hawaii. They divorced in 1980.
In October 1989, he married Ruth Dempster and in 1991 they moved to Arizona. They enjoyed many years of travel, golf, spending time with families and friends around the country.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth, son Michael (Christine) of Omaha NE, daughters Diane Gottsch of Omaha, Vicki (Rick) Stenner of Phoenix and Tricia Melena of Council Bluffs, IA, his sister Sis Hamill of Omaha, many grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Joann, daughter Debbie (1954 buried in Frankfort Germany), parents James and Helen Melena, father-in-law and mother-in-law Gilbert and Esma Lacey, brother-in-laws Dennis Hamill and Gilbert Lacey, sister-in-laws Jean Lacey, Peggy (Borden) Lacey and Marilee South.
Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, June 19, 2023 at 10:00 am. at St. Joachim and St. Anne Catholic Church, 11625 N 111th Ave., Sun City AZ. Luncheon will follow in St. Anne hall.
His intelligence, wit, wisdom, and perseverance thru challenging times will be a lasting inspiration to those who knew and loved him. He was dearly loved by his family.
David was cared for by his loving wife and Hospice of the Valley. He will be inurned at the Omaha NE National Memorial Cemetery in the fall.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the church or the MS Society.