Melvin Ray Haden was born October 11, 1926, in Garfield Township, Calhoun County, Iowa. He was the third son of Ray A. and Emma D. (Hinrichs) Haden. He was baptized and confirmed in the Lytton Presbyterian Church. He graduated from Lytton Consolidated School in 1944. In high school he was a class officer, the FFA president, and in 1946 was the State FFA Vice President. Melvin served as a cryptographic technician in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1946-1947 with service in the Philippine Islands. After his discharge he attended Buena Vista College in Storm Lake where he played basketball but more importantly, where he met Phyllis Read. They were married on February 20, 1949, and started farming in Lytton. He sold Grade A milk from his herd of Holsteins. When the milking facilities were destroyed in a storm in 1970, he sold the cow herd and concentrated on farrowing and finishing hogs. They became parents of five children, Judith, Ronald, Jean Marie, Donald, and Jill.
His volunteerism and leadership was recognized and he was elected to the board of the Lytton Coop Creamery and shortly thereafter to the Iowa Breeders Co-op. Melvin was elected an elder in the Presbyterian Church and then became involved in Presbytery obligations. He served on many committees and was elected moderator of the Presbytery of Northwest Iowa in 1962.
Education was important to him; he was elected to the Lytton Community School Board of Education and served fifteen years, 7 years as president. Afterward, he was elected to the Arrowhead Area Education Agency Board where he served twenty-five years, 8 years as president. He was elected to the Calhoun County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and later was the County Farm Bureau President and County Voting Delegate. Melvin served ten years on the Loring Hospital Board. Throughout the years he enjoyed participating in activities with the Lytton Museum, the Lytton American Legion and woodworking. In 1990 he received the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame Award.
His loving wife, Phyllis, passed away in 1997 after a short illness with leukemia. Although no words can describe how much he missed her, he continued farming until retiring after almost 50 years but continued to help on the farm until his health no longer allowed him to. Farming was his passion and he received recognition in 1992 with the Pfister Hybrid 200 Bushel Award, Century Farm recognition in 1999, and in 2014 by the Calhoun County Farm Bureau for 65 years of membership and service to the organization.
He was preceded in death by his parents Ray and Emma Haden; wife Phyllis; and by brothers: Earl and Dean.
Those left to cherish and continue his legacy of being a good and honorable man include his children: Judy Marfechuk and husband Paul, Ron Haden and wife Cheryl, Jean Tobin and husband Larry, Don Haden and wife Mary, and Jill Birks and husband Dave. He also leaves 11 grandchildren: Melissa Stell, Laura Hejtmanek, Matthew Haden, Chris Marfechuk, Monika Marfechuk, Derek Haden, Jake Haden, Trevor Haden, Haley Birks, Allison Birks, Jared Birks; and eight great grandchildren: Aubrie Stell, Haden Stell, Kelsie Hejtmanek, Chase Hejtmanek, Roman Haden, Nash Haden, Lainey Haden, and Henry Haden. He is also survived by his sister and brother-in-law Darlene and Filmore Gustafson; sisters-in-law: Alma Haden, Mary Nieman, and Lola Read; brother-in-law Dave (Mary) Read; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to the Lytton American Legion or the Lytton Museum.