Mel G. Dinklage

mel dinklage

Mel Dinklage
December 26, 1961 - January 20, 2007

Every death diminishes us in some way. With the aged, we lose wisdom.
With the young, we lose hope. With Mel Dinklage, Highlands Ranch
resident, father, and husband, the community lost a great friend and
humanist -- a man who saved lives for a living. Mel worked as a charge
and trauma emergency room nurse at Swedish Health One Southwest, a
freestanding emergency center in Littleton, and prior at Littleton
Hospital. Previously, he'd served as flight nurse with Air Life
Greeley, a Flight for Life helicopter. He was a man who could act
quickly, calm others easily, and do exactly what was needed. A man who
didn't fear a crisis, taking a risk, or facing death.
Some of you may have read of his untimely death and the discovery of his
body the morning of January 22nd in a creek near Chatfield reservoir.
Alpine Rescue of Colorado located the body in a wetlands area near the
mouth of Waterton Canyon. An autopsy confirmed cardiac arrest suffered
during an outing that began on the afternoon of Saturday, January 20th ,
resulting in a fall from which he apparently couldn't recover. Sadly,
Mel suffered a tragic and unexpected end at only 45 years of age.

Mel was born in Overland Park , Kansas, the son of Pat and Mel Dinklage.
He graduated from the University of Kansas where he was a member of Pi
Kappa Alpha fraternity. He later graduated from Avila University with a
BSN in nursing in 1985. Dedicated to his career, he was also an avid
outdoors man. He loved to hike, fish and cycling. He adored camping,
especially in the wilds of Yellowstone. Snow shoeing was his most
recently adopted sport and he headed out on his own around 3:00 p.m.
that fateful Saturday to do what he loved most -- commune with nature. A
below the knee amputee since the age of eleven, Dinklage had never let
this inconvenience stop him from undertaking physical challenges. He was
fitted with a prosthesis early on and wore it with pride.

Williams, of Williams Jewelers in Littleton, a longtime personal friend,
likes to tell about a Mexico coastal vacation he and his wife, Diane,
along with Mel and his wife JoLynn, shared a few years back. While
dining in a seaside restaurant, Mel noted a restaurant client staring at
his artificial leg. He leaned over and explained in a whisper, "A Great
White . . ..," implying the leg had been severed by a giant shark,
mining the moment for all it was worth.
Mel was a man who was extremely organized and always prepared. His sense
of humor was legendary, something his friends and colleagues can attest
to. So was his adoration for his wife, JoLynn, a woman who shared the
daily joy during their marriage of 6 years. He actually met JoLynn at
Littleton Hospital emergency room where she had brought her son, Austin
Wood, in as a patient. His kindness and charm sparked a love between
them that lasted the rest of his life.

An inspiration to many, Mel enjoyed everything he undertook. A favorite
hobby was selecting coffee beans, roasting them and enjoying a great cup
of coffee, and usually sharing the best cup of coffee he could make,
with a friend. Also a great cook, Mel did it all, from the shopping to
grilling on the barbecue -- he loved to entertain. And as much as he was
known for his humorous outlook on life, he had a reverence about him as
well, respectful and abiding of his Christian faith. He and his family
regularly attended church (Jubilee Fellowship) and revered the sacred.
According to Steve, "Mel was in touch with the Lord."
Though not a public figure or celebrity, Mel Dinklage was an everyday
hero: the kind of man who deserves to be remembered. He was one of us --
that is, a person who found a way to cope with and celebrate life the
best way he knew how and share the lessons that he'd learned with those
he loved. He was a man who made living into an art and set an example
for the rest of us by doing just that -- living each day to the fullest.

When asked of Steve Williams what he thought Mel might be saying if he
were here with us now, he replied, "I'm sure he'd say Don't make a
fuss. It's no big deal. That's just the way he was."
In the hearts of everyone that knew him, Mel Dinklage will be missed.

Longtime personal friend, Steve Williams mourns the loss,

Mel you will be desperately missed by your family and friends. We will hold you and our memories in our hearts forever... GOD BLESS YOU.

He is survived by his wife JoLynn Wood of Highlands Ranch, CO., daughter Tiffany Dinklage of Denver, stepsons Ryan and Austin Wood of Highlands Ranch, CO, parents Mel and Pat Dinklage, sister Cheri and Chuck Cox all of Overland Park, Kansas and brother Thom and Cindy Petty of Dothan, Alabama, nephews Taylor and Jordan Cox and niece Kelsey Petty.

JoLynn will be celebrating the life of her husband on Friday, February 16th at 7:30 p.m. at the Jubilee Fellowship Church (9830 Lone Tree Parkway).

Friends who wish may make memorial contributions to the Mel Dinklage Memorial Fund c/o Bullock Mortuary.

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  1. I went to Nursing School at Avila with Mel. He gave a talk and demonstration one day, sharing with us the history of, and his personal experience with his amputation. He was so young when this happened. He said he used to use it on his parents when he wold get mad at them, saying things like, "…you cut my leg off!…" You had to be there, but everybody got a big laugh out of this because we understood he was being a "tween"! He described how his parents wouldn't let him get away with this, and how they taught him not to feel sorry for himself and that he was perfectly capable of doing everything he would ever want to do. It seems that nothing held him back from some amazing accomplishments in his work and in his leisure time.

    I am so saddened to hear that the world has lost such an awesome person and great Nurse. Mel was a very cool, very funny guy that I wish I would have gotten to know better.

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