Mel C. Sandvig, recently of Ripon, passed away Monday, July 22, 2013, at Prairie Place in Ripon.

He was born May 10, 1925, to Edwin and Flora (Pieper) Sandvig in Eveleth, Minn. He graduated from Wausau High School in 1943.

Mel joined the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in 1943, proudly serving in World War II until 1946.

On July 7, 1951, he married Betty Hoeft in Wausau, where the couple made their home until moving to Plymouth in 1962.

Mel was employed at Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution for over 20 years. Betty and Mel also operated the Montgomery Ward Catalogue Agency in Plymouth for three years. Mel managed the downtown apartment building they lived in for over 20 years.

He was also a member of the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Plymouth.

Along with Betty, Mel was one of the founding members of the Plymouth Association for Retarded Citizens, established Hilltop Manor, a group home for the developmentally disabled in Plymouth, which provided a home for many people. They were leaders in getting private education for the developmentally disabled in the Plymouth area, which eventually forced the Plymouth School District into accepting the responsibility in providing this education. They were also instrumental in getting needed changes and reform in many state institutions.

Mel was a member of the Plymouth VFW.

He was preceded in death by his wife in 1999; two sons, Mark Sandvig in 1976, and Kipp Sandvig in 2012; both parents, and granddaughter Melissa Hanson in 2002; sister, Jane Merriman, and one infant brother, Robert Jerome Sandvig.

Mel is survived by two sons, Rick (Marybeth) Sandvig, Milwaukee, and Dean (Karen) Sandvig, Menasha; one daughter, Loni (Steven) Wendt, Waupun; 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; and one brotherin law, Robert (Margaret) Hoeft, Vancouver, Wash.

Services will be held Friday, July 26, at the chapel at Restlawn Memorial Park in Wausau with visitation starting at 1 p.m. until the time of service at 2 p.m.

John J. Buettgen Funeral Home is assisting the family. Online condolences may be left at

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