Sunday, April 21, 2024

Melvin E. “Mel” Shenyer


Melvin E. “Mel” Shenyer

Funeral services for Melvin E. “Mel” Shenyer, 75, of Ellensburg, will be conducted at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 22, 2023 at Mercer Creek Church in Ellensburg, Washington with a reception to follow starting at Noon at the Armory Building at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds. Viewing for family and friends will be Friday, July 21 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Johnston & Williams in Ellensburg.  Mr. Shenyer passed away on Tuesday, July 4, 2023 at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.

Mel was born on March 23, 1948 in Omak, Washington to Ernest & Phyllis (Krupkat) Shenyer. He was raised in Brewster where he excelled as a multi-sport athlete in high school, with basketball being his favorite. He graduated from Brewster High School in 1966 and enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving a six year tour that encompassed service both stateside and in Germany. 

Following his honorable discharge in 1973, Mel returned to Brewster where he worked his own and the family’s orchards before relocating to Ellensburg when he purchased Okanagan-Seattle Transport Company from Virgil Hinchey in 1979. Mel would own and operate OST for nearly 28 years before he “retired” in 2006. 

Retirement, of course, was a loose term for Mel. After about six months of doing “retired things'', Mel got bored and went to work for the Washington State Department of Transportation on Snoqualmie Pass, plowing snow in the winter and doing maintenance in the summer. 

Although he didn’t drink, Mel met Jodee Craig one evening when he went into The Thunderbird where she was bartending.  She was working alone and things got busy, so she put him to work bringing in beer to restock the cooler.  Before he left, Mel gave her one of his OST pens and told her to give him a call to make sure she got home okay (by the time she got home, he had already called and left her a message). That interaction would become the start of a lifetime romance between the two and they were married on July 18, 1981.

In addition to everything else Mel did work wise, he also took great pride in the family farm that he and Jodee established together in 1985, growing hay and raising horses. He loved to fish, hunt, and compete in Nascar races. He was a longtime member of both the Kittitas County Fair Board and the Ellensburg Rodeo Board of Directors.  No matter who it was that needed a hand, Mel was there to help with his time, knowledge and equipment – and if he couldn’t help, he would connect you with someone who could.

Mel is survived by his wife, Jodee and daughters Elizabeth and Amelia, all of Ellensburg; brothers Terry Shenyer of Brewster, Washington and William (Kay) Shenyer of Bridgeport, Washington as well as numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and an exponentially large group of friends in the community.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Phyllis (Krupkat) Shenyer and his sister, Susan (Shenyer) Madden.

Memorial contributions in Mel’s honor are suggested to the Kittitas County Friends of the Fair Foundation or the Clymer Museum & Gallery.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Johnston & Williams in Ellensburg.  Online condolences may be left at