Melvin E. Stamberger

ROCHESTER, Ind. - Melvin Edwin Stamberger, 93, of Rochester, Ind., formerly of Mendota, passed away Jan. 12, 2020 at Miller’s Merry Manor in Warsaw, Ind. surrounded by his loving family.

A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16 at Calvary Lutheran Church, 1314 N. Michigan St., Plymouth, Ind. with Pastor Eric Ahlemeyer officiating. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the Good Family Funeral Home, 1200 W. 18th St., Rochester, and for an hour prior to services at the church on Jan. 16. Graveside services will be at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 at the Rochester IOOF Cemetery.

Melvin was born Feb. 13, 1926 in Bureau County to Herman Oscar and Hilda Margaret (Lamps) Stamberger. He married the love of his life Wilma Jean Horn on Aug. 18, 1957 at Clarion Evangelical Lutheran Church in LaMoille and they enjoyed 62 years of life’s adventures.

Survivors include his wife, Wilma of Rochester; one daughter, Kathy (Gary) Stuart and one son, Chuck (Melva) Stamberger, all of Rochester; a daughter-in-law, Jayne Stamberger of Mishawaka, Ind.; nine grandchildren, Christine (Adam) Smith, Erin (Brett) Nelson, Daniel (Kelly) Snipes, Cory (Melissa) Mauck, Melinda (Jason) Owens, Michael (Tana) Stamberger, Timothy (Katelyn) Stamberger, Jordan Lloyd Stamberger and Cynthia Renee Stamberger; 13 great-grandchildren including the Smiths, Austin, Kaitlyn and Allison, the Nelsons, Brooke and Addison, the Maucks, Lane, Harley, Alexis and Conner, the Owens, Kensie, Jacob and another blessing due in the spring, and the Stambergers, Clair and Kennedy; a brother-in-law, Arnold (Kay) Horn; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by one son, Steven Stamberger on Aug. 2, 2012, and three older brothers, Earl (infant), Wayne and Robert.

In 1969, Melvin and Wilma moved their family from Mendota to Newcastle Township, Ind. to set up their home and family farming operation. They erected the windmill that had graced the landscape of their farm in Illinois. Melvin was primarily a grain farmer annually planting wheat, corn and soybeans. He also enjoyed overseeing the livestock operation consisting of cross-bred hogs, black Angus and Herefords. He could be seen turning the soil, then planting annually each spring atop his classic J.I. Case shiny tractors.

He was an active member of the Calvary Lutheran Church in Plymouth and was a member of the Hesston Steam Power Society in LaPorte County for over 30 years. An avid train buff, Melvin built two locomotive steam powered engines on a 1.5-inch scale, powered by coal and water building the perfect steam engine. As the patriarch of the Stamberger family, grandpa Melvin served as engineer and sometimes conductor.

Establishing a family tradition, Melvin and Wilma spent most summer weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day taking to the 7-inch train track and engineering their locomotive steam engine, allowing friends and new acquaintances the thrill of a historic ride. Other family members joined in the fun serving as conductor or sold tickets at the depot.

The appointment of the annual “Corn Day” was led by Melvin. Each spring he planted a special field of tender, juicy sweet corn, monitoring it until the kernels were blistered to perfection. When he declared the corn was ready, his family was notified and the corn was harvested the evening before the “Big Day.” Everyone pitched in completing their assignment, whether shucking, overseeing the blanching in a huge black butcher kettle or cutting the corn from the ear. Much love and many legendary stories were told during the day’s events. The Stamberger family collaborated to freeze over 400 pints for winter use, enough for more than 10 families to enjoy!

Memorials may be directed to Calvary Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Ind. Online expressions of sympathy may be made to the family at


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