Melbert Breding


Melbert Breding, 92, of Bismarck, passed away on March 13, 2024 in a Bismarck Hospital.  Burial will be held on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan.

Melbert Allan Breding was born in Powers Lake, ND to Bennie O. and Mattie Breding.  He was the youngest of four brothers, Joel, Vernon, Bill and Kenny.  Growing up in Powers Lake he worked at his father’s hardware and auto store which later became “Breding Chevrolet” in Powers Lake.  “Meb” also worked in the farm fields during harvest with his older brother Kenneth.  Meb enjoyed the outdoors and hunted and trapped around the Powers Lake area.  His family lived in Los Angeles, CA for a short time but moved back to Powers Lake in 1942 after the Japanese bombed pearl harbor and his mother Mattie did not want to stay in California.  Tragedy struck when his mother Mattie passed from TB when he was only 10.  Meb overcame the TB that infected his lungs as a boy.  He stayed with his grandparents in Saskatchewan and lived a homesteader life for two years.  He got out in nature to exercise his lungs, learned to play basketball, and became the high scoring player for the Powers Lake Ranchers basketball team in High School.  “Breding is burning up the nets” was the phrase the announcer used at the state tournament.

Meb worked for the railroad during the summers in High School which was hard physical labor.  After high school Meb joined the AirForce in 1952 as a Military Policeman.  He was stationed in El Paso, TX and Morocco, North Africa.  Meb was involved in many classified flights during the cold war era.  After four years in the Air Force Meb moved back to North Dakota but found little opportunity.  He decided to pursue work for the railroad again putting up poles for telegraph lines.  He envied the lineman who were putting up cable which inspired him to find worked for the Telephone company later.  He returned to Los Angles awhile and lived with his brother Joel.  The Veterans Administration got him a job as an installer with the Telephone company.  However he did not like LA and quit his job and moved to Great Falls, MT where he knew a cousin.  He was fortunate to get re-hired in Great Falls, MT with Bell Telephone company.  He started work in Great Falls, MT where he met his wife Avis Odegard of Crosby, ND.

Meb loved the outdoors and hunted big game in the Bob Marshall wilderness.  He had many adventures with his horse he kept at his house in Black Eagle, MT.  Meb earned his Radio Station License through a home study course and his company was then willing to transfer him anywhere he pleased.  After awhile he missed his home in North Dakota and transferred back to Crosby, ND for a year then to Bismarck in 1966 where he finished his career and retired early at 55 years old.  Meb had 30 years of service with what is now AT&T.  During his time in Bismarck he became an avid fisherman of the Missouri River and Lake Sacajawea.  Walleyes were his passion, and he was a very successful fisherman and enjoyed taking family and friends out fishing and camping.  He became involved with the Bis Man Reel and Rec club and promoted new boat ramps and fish cleaning stations.  He and his lifelong fishing partner Vic Gibbons actively lobbied for recreational fishing along the Missouri River.  He had two children Barry and Jan (Eriksmoen).  The love of the outdoors was passed on to his sone Barry who pursued fishing and hunting in the great North Dakota outdoors.  Meb was like having your own knowledgeable fishing and hunting guide.

Meb was passionate about his family history and researched it back several generations.  He even took a trip to Verdal, Norway and found the village where his great grandfather farmed.  It was a steep hike into the mountains but it was worth it because he actually met some of his relatives who invited him in for dinner.  This was the tenant farm village that bore his last name “Breding”.  It also made sense that he would passionately follow the Minnesota Vikings.  History was also a passion for Meb, he was blessed with a great memory, and was a very intelligent man.  He loved to read about Lewis and Clark, American history and knew current events very well.  He was a wealth of information about anything and always took pleasure in guiding and counseling friends and family.  He was proud of being a lineman and overcoming the challenges of that job.

He was proud of his service in the air force and the outdoors was his sanctuary where he beheld the wondrous creation of God.  He learned to overcome hardships in his life, persevere and found success in hard work and improving himself.  He enjoyed a successful full retirement because he knew how to invest and plan.  “Work hard, play hard” was his motto.  He always displayed “ The Deserada” in his home.  (I shall pass this way but once).

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