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David Melenka

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David (Moke) Willard Melenka

February 13, 1936 - February 13, 2023


It is with heavy hearts that we share the peaceful passing of David “Moke” Melenka on Monday, February 13th – his 87th birthday.

He was born in Trail and at the age of 15, ventured into the forest with his first crew Timber Cruising. He spent his entire life in the woods – eventually retiring from Crestbrook Forest Industries in Cranbrook in 1996. There is not a hillside in the East or West Kootenay he has not walked and the stories of his adventures in these mountains are legendary.

A first date with a mustang-driving new teacher in town turned into a life-long partnership and Moke was incredibly proud of Kathleen and the life they built together.

While forestry was his career, his connection to the land and wildlife were an integral part of who he was. He took great pride in teaching his children (and many others) to hunt and fish, as he shared his passion for the outdoors. That connection to the land and the outdoors lives on through his son, who now walks the hills and is creating a new legacy. When he and Kathleen built their home on 5 acres just outside of Cranbrook, he loved spending time in the garden and could often be found sitting on the bank overlooking the lake, perfectly at peace.

A storyteller at heart, he could entertain a crowd with his dancing eyes and big smile. From telling bedtime stories, to campfire tales, MC’ing weddings and presenting to forestry classes at UBC, his gift for storytelling made an impact. That legacy lives on through his daughter. He was known for his strength, his integrity, and his tireless work ethic. His smile filled the room and he loved having friends and family together – whether it was around the fire for a corn roast, or on a mountain top during elk season.

Moke leaves behind his wife of 53 years, Kathleen; their children Loree (Paul), son Jim, grandchildren Ryder, Dagen, Jessi and Jake; his brother Ed (Denise); and, Shawn Melenka (Bob). He was predeceased by his parents, and siblings Sadie and Roy.

The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Phyllis and John of Comfort Care Home for taking such good care of him over this last year and a half; Brian Clifford for taking him out on so many adventures and making the past year so rich; and, to all of his friends for their compassion and support.

In the 1990s Moke and a number of other local wildlife enthusiasts met with, and convinced, the provincial government to establish a surtax on hunting and fishing licences to support wildlife conservation in BC. Today, it is known as the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and has given over $200 million in grants to wildlife conservation projects. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

He touched so many people throughout his life and his family would love to gather stories and memories. Please share your recollections and stories by email at

You would often see a distant look in his eye and as a smile crawled across this face, he’d say “I’ve lived a beautiful life.” And that he did. He will be deeply missed.

An open house to celebrate his life will be held Saturday, May 27, 2023 from 2pm-4:30pm at their home.

вічна пам’ять
His memory will be eternal



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Pages: 12

From: Mark Memorial Funeral Services

Mark Memorial Funeral Services Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Charlene Morrison
Relation: I worked with his wife, Cathy

Cathy, I’m sending deepest sympathy to you and your family on the passing of your special husband, father and grandfather. Although I did not know him personally, I knew of him because he lived “so large!” I know he will be deeply missed but it sounds like you have many vivid memories of his time with you all. My hope is these ease your grief now and into the coming months and years. Compassionately, Charlene Morrison

From: Darrel & Holly Dzurko
Relation: Cousin

Our deepest condolences to the entire Malenka family.

From: FJ Hurtak
Relation: Acquaintance

I knew Dave for many decades and I always looked forward to his phone call every the end of hunting season. Naturally the focus of the conversation was always wildlife related issues. We didn’t always agree on things but his knowledge about wildlife was second to none,, there was no question whatsoever about that. He was truly a unique character that exemplified what an outdoors person in the Kootenays was all about. Passionate and caring about the resource itself. My sincerest condolences to Lori, Jim, his wife, friends and family.

From: Jeanne Halleran MCartney
Relation: Working in Resourse television Dave was often a contributor.

Remembering Dave who had so much energy and good humor. He contributed to so many field trips and was a great friend to WestLand Resourse Television. Good memories of Dave with Carmen Purdy, Ray Demarchi, Ross Tozier, John Murray and so many others. Dave lifted everyone’s spirits. Sympathy to his family and friends. He will be missed. Jeanne Halleran McCartney.

From: Lorrie Mills
Relation: Work friend.

I worked many years at Crestbrook Forest Insustries. Dave made an extra effort to enlighten all of us, who were inclined, to appreciate the world we had around us. Dave spoke at my husbands Dad’s funeral and made us all feel blessed to live here, he appreciated all who loved the forest and world around us. May God Bless you “Moke” and may your continued journey bless everyone you encounter. You will be missed. ♥️

From: Carol Howe
Relation: Friend

My Sincere Condolences Kathy, Loree, Jim & Families. Moke was one of a kind and his stories are legendary. He watched over our beautiful Idlewild park, and was a great neighbour. Love & Hugs to All The Family . Carol Howe

From: Miki lund
Relation: Long time friend.

kathleen and family, We are so sorry to hear of Moke’s passing. What a great man he was and he will be missed, you can be sure of that. I can recall all the times he came into the Barber shop just to visit and B.S with every one. When I retired I lost contact with Moke and I truly regret it. If there is anything you would like us to do for you and the family Kathleen, please call me even if it just to talk. With deepest sympathy with Love and Hugs, Tina and Miki Lund.

From: Glen Todd
Relation: a friend

My deepest condolences to the Melenka family-I got to know Dave in the late 70’s when I started guiding in the hunting industry-Dave was a special friend & mentor to me & we kept our relationship going until the last few years. He was an admirable man.

From: Lorraine and George Gibson
Relation: Friend

Sending our deepest sympathy to Cathy and family for the loss of Dave. He was a very special person and he will be sadly missed.

Pages: 12

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