Melvin Clayton "Mel" Root passed away on March 26, 2013, at home, surrounded by his family.

He was preceded in death by parents, Archie and Alabam Root and sister, Mary Susan.

He is survived by brothers, Cliff, Clyde, Troy, Archie, Dan and Amon; sisters, Lois, Betty, Della, Evelyn, and Brenda and families.

He is also survived by his three children, Mary Kay, Michael and Annette and her husband Eric Haggard, and also his grandchildren, Joshua and Bella, and loving wife of 55 years, Jeanette "Jan."

Mel was born in Lynch, Ky., on Feb. 15, 1934. He was the fifth of 13 brothers and sisters.

Mel played high school football and attended New Mexico Highlands University on a football scholarship. After being awarded a master's degree in public administration, he went on to become a teacher, coach and administrator in the Illinois and New Mexico public school systems for the next 42 years.

Mel and his wife owned and operated a children's summer camp from 1969 to present.

Mel was an athlete and loved the mountains of Northern New Mexico, which reminded him of his Kentucky home.

He loved gardening, hiking, teaching and coaching.

Later in life, he participated in the Senior Olympics and reached the national level in badminton.

Mel was a strong supporter of NMHU, helping to establish the H-Club for alumni. He served as president of both the NMHU Alumni Association and the alumni H-Club.

Mel was president of Shalom Ministries, a non-profit organization that helped troubled youth.

He was very active in the San Miguel Republican party, having served as finance chair, vice-chair and having twice run for a seat in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Many students, athletes, and campers looked to Mel as a father figure and mentor. His legacy will continue in the lives of those he touched.

A public viewing will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Rogers Mortuary, 600 Ray-nolds Ave. in Las Vegas. Funeral service will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, April 1, at First Baptist Church, 201 Mountain View Drive in Las Vegas.
Published in Las Vegas Optic on March 29, 2013