Ruben Rene Melo
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March 9, 1925 ~ June 15, 2015

Born March 9, 1925, Ruben Rene Melo Garcia was the youngest child of Gustavo Humberto Melo Cantu and Celvia Carolina Garcia Westrup. He was born in a hacienda near the center of town on a rare day in which it snowed in Monterrey, Mexico.

As a young boy, he enjoyed exploring the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains that ran near his hometown, sparking a lifelong interest in geology. When he was 14, his brother Gustavo decided that Ruben would benefit from schooling in the United States. Although it was during the Depression, he managed to scrape up enough money to finance Ruben's education at the Holding Institute located in Laredo, Texas. Ruben graduated from there with a high school diploma in 1945.

Soon thereafter he joined the US Army and trained as a paratrooper. During this time, he became a naturalized United States citizen under his name, Ruben Rene Melo. He attended Indiana Technical College on the GI Bill, earning a BS in Civil Engineering in 1949. After graduation Ruben moved to Vancouver, Washington to begin his career working for the Washington State Department of Transportation from where he retired after 33 years.

While doing survey work for what is now I-5, he jumped over a fence, spraining his ankle. A visit to the doctors office led him to meet his future wife Marilyn Boyle. The doctor knew immediately that he was about to lose the best secretary he ever had. They were married in 1951 after three months of dating and went on to become parents of four children. After their divorce, he was briefly married to Irene Wood. Subsequent to that Ruben moved to Salem, Oregon spending his last 30 years with his partner Connie O'Hanhon. Seven months ago, he moved back to Vancouver to be near his children.

He loved physics, geology, dancing, and was an avid sports fan. Untold hours were spent watching football as well as his favorite sport of basketball.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Rull, Roberto, Gustavo, and Enrique; and his sister, Julieta.

He is survived by his sister, Perla, 92, of Mexico City; his three sons, Robert (Debbie) of Seattle, James of LaCenter, Thomas (Anne) of Bellingham; daughter, Debbie (Leslie Gard) of Vancouver; four grandchildren; and two great- grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held on Friday, June 26, 2015 at 2:00 at Park Hill Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the SW Washington Humane Society at

Please sign Ruben's Guest Book at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Columbian on Jun. 24, 2015.
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
June 29, 2015
Lamentamos el fallecimiento del Tío Rubén, pero estamos ciertos de que ya vive, en su Resurrección, en la Gracia eterna de Dios.
Jorge, hijo de Abel, hijo de Julieta
Jorge Cortés
June 26, 2015
Sentimos la pérdida de nuestro querido Tio Rubén. Un abrazo fuerte para toda la familia desde Monterrey, México. Familia Cortés-Melo Gámez
Lilia Cortés
June 26, 2015
Lo recordamos con mucho cariño en Monterrey.
Carlos Cortes
June 24, 2015
Ben was one of the sweetest people I ever had the pleasure of caring for. I was sad to return to work and find that he'd finally gone to heaven...I wanted to say goodbye to him and his family. Thank you for giving us the honor of caring for him at RHHH. He is surely missed.

Lisa, CNA
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