Melvin “Lonnie” Palin was born on March 28, 1942 in Billings, Montana. He passed away peacefully with his daughters by his side at home in Missoula, Montana on April 25, 2020. During his childhood his family moved to Garnet and lived in Packer Gulch where they resided in the 50’s and 60’s. He joined the Marine Corp Infantry and was in the Military Police, corporal, pistol expert and a rifle sharp-shooter. He belonged to Hotel Company 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines and spent 3 months on a ship during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Also served for 10 days in Saigon.
He was a snowmobile racer for many years. People who spoke of his racing called him “fearless and almost crazy” which earned him numerous trophies including the northwest champion.
In 1965, he married Sharon Mitton and they raised 2 girls: Patricia and Bonnie Jo. He was a good provider for his family, which drew him away from home to work. He worked construction and belonged to the Operating Engineer’s Local 400 (Montana) Local 302 Alaska. He helped build parts of I-90, Great Falls Missile silos, the Alaska pipeline (1970’s), Coal Strip power plants in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and back to operate a crane on the north slope of Alaska.
He had never finished high school so in 1991 he went back to school and got his GED. He loved to hunt and fish. After he retired he enjoyed woodworking. His wood work was featured in an issue of Montana magazine. He was always up to watch a good western on TV.
He belonged to the American Legion and enjoyed working at the rodeo grounds to build toilets, work the rodeo and mule days’ events.
He was preceded in death by his mother Katherine Palin, father Melvin Palin, Brother Glenn Palin, niece Angie Palin and loving wife Sharon. He and Sharon were married for 40 years at her passing.
Survivors include daughters Patricia and Bonnie Jo, daughter-in-law Beth, stepmother Gardie Palin, Nephews Emmett Weaver, Brad Boster, great nephews Sam McGowan, Chance and Cody Boster.