Remembering Deanna Melby

Dee Melby
Dee Melby

Deanna Marlaine Melby, retired administrative and budget specialist at the School of Graduate studies, Grand Forks, North Dakota, died Aug. 31, 2021, at home following a two year battle with leukemia. She was 74.

Deanna “Dee” was born on Nov. 7, 1946, in Fergus Falls, where she was raised, baptized, confirmed and married at the First Lutheran Church. She was the daughter of Florence (Hoganson) and Laurence Tomhave.

Dee met her husband, Michael Jay Melby, when she was a freshman and he was a sophomore at Roosevelt Senior High School. By the time she was a senior, she knew Mike was the man she wanted to spend her life with. On Oct. 2, 1965, they were married. Together they raised three sons during Michael’s 27-year career in the U.S. Air Force. Though the military life took them to many locations, they were most happy when they learned they were headed to Grand Forks Air Force Base in 1976, because it brought them closer to home. In 1991, Mike retired from the military and they made Grand Forks their permanent residence.

In 1986, Dee took a job at the First National Bank of North Dakota where she discovered the love for and her remarkable talent for working with numbers. After her office flooded during the Red River Valley Flood in 1997, Dee began a new career with the financial aid office at the University of North Dakota. She later transferred to a more challenging position in UND’s graduate school as an administrative and budget specialist where she worked until her retirement in May of 2019.

In Dee’s personal life, her greatest accomplishment was nurturing a loving home for her husband and children. Her greatest joy was being the grandmother to four amazing grandchildren, who she supported and inspired. In her free time, she loved spending time with family and friends, reading, playing games and unwaveringly supporting the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins. She was a fierce competitor who loved being challenged, especially during a rousing family-favorite game of Shanghai Rummy.

Survivors include her husband, Michael; her sons, Kirk Melby (Melissa) and Jeremy Melby (Michelle), and daughter-in-law, Irene Melby; four grandchildren, Kathryn (Anthony) Teske, Kyle, Erin and Ethan Melby; brothers, David Tomhave (Elaine), Ronald Tomhave (Tonya) and Brian Tomhave, and sister, Laurie Tomhave; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her oldest son, Richard Michael Melby; her sister, Virginia (Tomhave) Lunning and her brother-in-law, Michael Lunning.

Funeral Service: 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, in the Historic Norman Funeral Home Chapel.

Visitation: One hour prior to the service in the funeral home on Tuesday.

Interment: 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in First Lutheran North Cemetery in Fergus Falls.

The online memorial registry may be signed at

(The Historic Norman Funeral Home, Grand Forks, ND)