Melvyn Leroy Gon

Jan 18, 1948 - Jan 31, 2021

East Lawn Memorial Park
4300 Folsom Blvd
Sacramento, CA, 95819

Obituary

Melvyn Leroy Gon (“Mel”) passed away peacefully from Alzheimer’s disease on January 31, 2021 holding hands with his lifelong partner, best friend, and caretaker, Connie Gon.  His humor, bank shots, and fierce love of family will always be remembered and treasured. Mel was preceded in death by his father, Herbert, who spoiled him; his mother, Mary, who took care of him, and his sister Judie, who always forgave him. He is survived by his loving wife Connie, their daughter Nicole, his son-in-law Nori Ochi, the two granddaughters that he adored, Kimiko (8) and Megumi (5), and his brother Ron.

Mel was born to Herbert and Mary Gon on January 18, 1948 in Grass Valley, California. He was the youngest of 3 children and had fond memories of playing Little League, spending time with his many cousins and helping out his dad at the family’s grocery store, which was the only store open every day of the year in Grass Valley. After graduating from high school, Mel and his family moved to Sacramento where he continued working for his dad at Baskin Robbins and other local stores. Mel attended Sacramento City College where he met his future wife, Connie Machida, in an Asian American studies class in 1975. Mel cast Connie as the lead in a play that he wrote for a class assignment and the rest was history. After their first date, Mel proposed, but Connie said, “I don’t even know you!” So Connie waited and waited for Mel to ask again, but he wasn’t in any hurry, so after about 6 months of dating, Connie brought a calendar to Mel to decide on a wedding date…so he said Connie proposed to him! On March 19, 1977, Mel and Connie tied the knot and shortly thereafter purchased the home that they shared for more than 40 years.

In 1981, Mel became a dad when Connie gave birth to their daughter, Nicole. Mel loved being a dad. He invented stories of a mischievous character named “Jackie”, served as Nicole’s lawyer to escape from Japanese school and church, contributed his signature cityscapes to the Gon family newspapers, enjoyed playing games like Barbie Goes Around the World (and later, Scrabble), and loved Friday movie nights and vacations to San Francisco and Disneyland. As Nicole grew up, Mel happily shuttled Nicole and her friends to malls, movie theaters, and dances until she got her driver’s license and inherited his old Chevy Cavalier (he referred to the car as his ‘Babe Mobile’). In addition to being an exceedingly cool dad, Mel spent most nights at the Sac City tennis courts, played a lot of pick-up basketball at the park or at his mother-in-law’s ranch with his nephews, and rode his bike more than he drove a car. He also loved writing and frequently wrote poems for Connie and Nicole to commemorate special occasions and holidays.

In 1999, after working more than 20 years for the Secretary of State, Mel retired to spend time with his dad. He spent his retirement years playing even more tennis and basketball, writing short stories that were published in local newspapers, earning his Early Childhood Development certificate (because he loved kids), and caring for his ailing father. In addition, he was an avid reader who loved crime and mystery novels and liked to get multiple refills of coffee while reading free newspapers at La Bou. He enjoyed tooling around town in his dented white pick-up with colorful duct tape holding his bumper together, debris in the truck bed, and hip hop blaring from the windows. 

In 2010, Mel was diagnosed with polyarthritis, which impaired his active lifestyle. As the arthritis worsened, Mel had to give up nightly tennis matches for multiple sessions of boxing in the garage and his trusty bike for a scooter. The loss of sports was devastating for Mel, but it helped that his two granddaughters were born during this time. He loved to visit them in Los Angeles, where they would chase after his basketballs at the park (he maintained his shot even as he started using a cane) and play 7-up at the dinner table. In 2019, Mel was diagnosed with Advanced Alzheimer’s disease. His wife Connie tirelessly gave him the best possible care at home until shortly before he passed – they had nightly ping pong matches, ate out frequently at their favorite places, and connected often with friends and family. Mel spent the last few months of his life at a loving board and care facility, which Connie visited daily. We wish to thank Care Homes by Angel (Angeline Kang Houston), and especially Estefanie, Jay, Helen, Rommel, Oswald and Chok for their phenomenal care of Mel during his time in hospice.

Mel was an athlete, a poet, a story teller, a lover of children and dogs, and a joker, but above all, he was someone who deeply and fervently loved and supported his family. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

If you have any pictures, memories, or words of condolences that you would like to share, please feel free to add a submission to our Memorial Book that will be celebrating Mel and his legacy. You can access the submission page via the following direct link;
https://www.commemo.co/contribute/091092

A virtual celebration of life will be held via Zoom on Saturday, February 13 at 1pm. If you would like to attend, please send an email to melvynleroygon@gmail.com for login information. Donations can be made to his granddaughter’s public school, Aldama Elementary. Please send an email to melvynleroygon@gmail.com for more information about providing a contribution.

Guestbook

  • Toshio Ochi says:

    We miss him a lot.
    We had a nice time with him at Kimiko and Megumi’s Birthday Parties.

  • Susy Sanford Miller says:

    One of our Hennessey School mates sent me this beautiful story of Mel’s life. Sad to know he suffered painful conditions in the past few years.

    I knew him as the cute, funny, exceptionally well dressed kid in my class. I went to his little league games -he was a relay good athlete. I went to the 5th grade dance with him, driven by Mary, who I think had been in my mother’s class. We bought lots of candy from Herbie in his store on Bennett Street in Grass Valley. He once pulled up his shirt to show my dad his kidney stone scar and my father showed him his. Mortifying! Sad to think this history with the Gon Family has now passed.

    Love and best wishes to your whole family, and lots of love.

  • Willie Pattillo says:

    What a unique and loving man he was! He was so supportive of Nicole when she was in my fourth grade class. One could tell that he was a foremost influence in her life. I am so glad that his granddaughters are old enough to have memories of their grandfather. Love to all of Mel’s family!
    Willie and Gray Pattillo

  • What a Beautiful account of a life and persons well worth remembering!
    GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

  • David Painter says:

    Mel was one of those rare individuals that don’t come around nearly often enough. You were blessed to have had him so close and it appears it was a reciprocal arrangement. I know he will be missed by his family who so obviously loved him but he will also be missed by all who knew him, however briefly.

  • Debby Davis Fields says:

    Remembered as a quiet guy but a gangbuster of a baseball ⚾️ player at NU Class of ’66! You will be missed, Mel 🥺!

  • Mike Crenshaw says:

    I spent many great times with Mel during our early school years. We we pretty much the only two young guys who a passion for tennis. We played for hours at a time on the old grey court next to the swimming pool at Memorial Park. In high school we played together on the “C” basketball team, which had its season during the regular football season. It was a very good team and we nearly won the championship. Mel was truly a great guy and I always looked forward to seeing him at our class reunions. I’m glad he lived such a full, loving life.

  • Tom Taylor says:

    Wonderful bio of a life well lived.
    I knew Mel from 8th grade through high school in the same class. He was a fine and graceful athlete, always cheerful with a bright smile and greeting. I didn’t know him well, but he brought sunlight to everyone, apparently throughout his life.

  • Jerry Foote says:

    Sorry to hear about Mel. Missed him at the last few class reunions! Mel and I played ball together for years and went to a lot of swimming parties (we didn’t know how to swim) but we ended up playing catch and everyone would call us “party poopers” because we didn’t know how to swim!

    He will be greatly missed and so sorry we didn’t get to see each other at the reunions!

  • Les Nicholson says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Mel’s passing. He was just a wonderful guy, my family home was just above his parents store. My mom would send me to the store to buy her cigarettes. Herb alway made my mom write a note! Mel and i boxed in high school for coach Snapp we were the only small kids he had signed up.
    Rest In Peace Mel.

  • Carol Leidy says:

    How sad I am to read of Mel’s passing. I wish I would have known him better as a writer and friend. I was completely surprised when he told me at a class reunion that he had a crush on me in high school. I hadn’t known. That he was able to tell me so many years later touched me me. My father also died of Alzheimer’s, and I am sad to hear that Mel had to experience its indignities. Rest In Peace dear Mel. And my condolences to his family.

  • Pam-Kinsley-Drake says:

    cowgirlpame@gmail.comWhat a beautiful tribute to Mel.

  • Brian Frink says:

    Such a well written account of Mel’s life. Mel and I grew up together in Grass Valley. He was always happy and fun to be around. Mel was the champion of merit badges in our Cub Scout pack. We enjoyed bowling in the one lane alley of the Methodist Church. He was very competitive in our Little League games. I have so many more good memories of those special days. His passing is such sad news but his bio tells us all that it was a life well lived.

  • steve Sharsmitt says:

    From Little League, through sports at NUHS, a true competitor, in all! He will be missed. Bless, Connie, an family.

    Many days at the Sunshine Grocery.

  • Craig Chaffee says:

    I met Mel at Sacramento City College about 30 years ago, where so many of us from the community played tennis. We played a lot over the decades since. Mel was a great guy! He loved his family and spoke so highly and proudly of his wife and daughter, then later of his beloved grandchildren. One day long ago at the tennis courts, Mel introduced me to a college writing professor there, for a class he was taking. The professor remarked what a talented writer Mel was. I never knew! A couple weeks later Mel shared a short story he had written. It was phenomenal! Mel always took time to ask about family, children, and others. He cared. In recent years I lost touch with Mel, as many of the “old gang” at the tennis courts stopped playing. It was only last week that a tennis coach shared with another friend that Mel had passed on. So I’m writing this now with fond memories of Mel. What a great guy and family man.

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