Melvin F. "Buzz" Springmeyer
December 27, 2007
Melvin “Buzz” Frederick Springmeyer, Sr. 1919 – 2007
Friends and family are cordially invited to a Celebration of Buzz’ Life on Saturday, December 29, 2007, beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the CVIC Hall, 1604 Esmeralda Street, Minden, Nevada. Melvin “Buzz” Frederick Springmeyer, Sr., 88, of Gardnerville, Nevada, died peacefully on December 22, 2007 at his son’s home in Carson City.
Buzz was the great-grandson of H. H. and Wilhelmina Springmeyer, an 1860’s pioneer Carson Valley ranching family. Buzz was born July 29, 1919 in Gardnerville, Nevada, to Ralph A. and Edith Valeria (Werner) Springmeyer and grew up on ranches in Diamond Valley, Smith Valley, and Carson Valley with his brothers Lester, Albert, Robert, and sister Myra (Linscott). Buzz played basketball, graduated in 1937 from Smith Valley High School, and continued to work on ranches in the Carson Valley including Dangberg’s “Buckeye” operations. Before WW II he met and began dating Marjorie A. Johnson (Springmeyer), who is also a member of another pioneer Carson Valley ranching family. Upon the outbreak of World War II, Buzz worked as a welder in Richmond, California, building Liberty ships. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps (535th Bomb. Sq., 381st Bomb Group (H)) as a B-17 “Flying Fortress” pilot, flew 38 missions over Germany in 1944 and 1945, attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant, and was awarded the Bronze Battle Star. Later in life, when asked how he always seemed to remain so calm, cool, and collected no matter how adverse the circumstances and yet still get the job done he replied: “When you have to fly a steady, straight, and level bomb run over target maintaining tight formation with enemy flak and fighters taking up to 60% of your comrades around you, everything in life thereafter is just the small stuff.”
Buzz lived a life of integrity according to the Golden Rule. He was a great spouse and father. He was loving, patient, kind, hardworking, funny, brave, steadfast, loyal, and dedicated. He never lost his love of flying, acquiring and owning a Piper Cub in the 1950’s. Upon completion of his military service, Buzz returned home to the Carson Valley and married Marjorie A. Johnson on April 22, 1945. Buzz and Marjorie pooled their modest savings and built a service station and small house. Together they operated Springmeyer’s Service at what is now addressed as 2605 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, from 1946 to the mid-1970’s. These operations included gasoline sales, car repairs, towing, an International Harvester dealership, and a cafe. Buzz was a charter member of both the South Lake Tahoe Stella Van Dyke Johnson American Legion Post 795 and the Rotary Club. In Rotary, he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship award for outstanding service. After his mother-in-law’s death in 1957, together with his wife Marjorie and her brothers Knox Johnson and William Johnson, Buzz also participated in running the Johnson’s J Lazy J Ranch cattle operations in Carson Valley and South Lake Tahoe. These activities including haying on the Carson Valley Mottsville Lane operations in summer, cattle drives from the valley over Kingsbury Grade, through Stateline, to summer range at South Lake Tahoe and feeding in the winters. For many years he would be up at the crack of dawn to feed the cattle in Carson Valley, commute to South Lake Tahoe to run Springmeyer’s Service, and return to the valley after nightfall to feed again. Buzz eventually ceased operating Springmeyer Service but continued to ranch and for a number of years was also a Real Estate Broker having his office in Carson City. Hobbies during retirement included ham radio, call sign KB7CGS.
Buzz is survived by his spouse of 62 years, Marjorie, of Gardnerville, and two sons, Jon K. (Bonnie) Springmeyer of Carson City, and Melvin “Fred” Frederick Springmeyer, Jr. of Gardnerville. Unfortunately, in a 1951 drowning accident that left a sad gap in their lives, Buzz and Marjorie lost their first born at 2 years old, Constance “Connie” Ann Springmeyer. Also surviving are grandsons Erin M. and J. Ryan (Rachel) Springmeyer and granddaughter Sara A. M. Springmeyer; numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, and Buzz’s brother Lester R. (and Kay) Springmeyer, who, together with many friends and other family members, have all added much joy to his life.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Stella Van Dyke Johnson American Legion Post #795, 2748 Young Street, P.O. Box 1421, South Lake Tahoe, California 96151. Cremation by FitzHenry’s Funeral Home of Carson City, Nevada. Burial next to daughter Connie adjacent to the Happy Homestead Cemetery, South Lake Tahoe, California.
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