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Stephen Melnyk - a cherished husband, father, grandpa, son, brother, uncle, and friend passed away peacefully in his home on Thursday, November 16th 2023.
Born on September 23th, 1939, in Colver, Pennsylvania to Elias and Tatianna Melnyk, who were immigrants from Ukraine. Steve was the last child in a family of 9 children. Born in a small western PA. coal miner town. As a child Steve would help milk the cow, which they would deliver to the neighbors on the street. In 5th Grade he worked for the local farmer picking potatoes. Steve made 5 cents a bushel, he picked 30-40 bushels a day. He did this to pay the local Coal Company to live.
Stephen enlisted in the United States Army in 1957. He served in the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Platoon, 1st Battle Group, 28th US Infantry, 8th Infantry Division in Germany in 1957-1959. In February of 1958 SP/4 Stephen Melnyk was sent to Bad Toelz where he was trained by 10th Special Forces Group and the British S.A.S. During Stephen’s time serving in the United States Army he received the Certificate of Outstanding Performance in September 15th, 1958 for attaining the highest score ever recorded in USAREUR to date, on the battle group army training test. During the months of November 1958 and January 1959 Specialist Melnyk achieved the personal distinction of the 28th Infantry Soldier of the Month Award. In February 1959, Stephen Melnyk was designated Baumholder Sub Area Soldier of the Month. PFC Stephen Melnyk was awarded Honorable Discharge from Alpine Rosen in recognition of honest and faithful service in Guerilla and Mountain Training during the period of July 14th, 1958 - August 9th 1958.
In May 1959 Stephen Melnyk was Honorably Discharged and then transferred to revert USAR XXI US Army Corps (Reserve) until June 24th, 1963. Stephen Melnyk became a Life Member of the U.S. Army Ranger Association Inc. in May 2000. Ranger Stephen Melnyk served as an Interim President, World Army Ranger War, Inc. From January 29th, 2002 - November 1st, 2002.
Stephen moved to Midland Park, New Jersey in 1959. While working as a part time taxi driver, one night he picked up a few Scottish girls to drive them somewhere to go dancing - he met the love of his life that night. Stephen and Rebecca were married for 60 years. They moved to Waldwick to raise their daughters Karen and Sally.
After serving in the Army, He worked for a landscaping company owned by Richard Lustig. Then in 1964 Stephen Melnyk became a certified tree expert and created Aargon Tree Service and Aargon Nursery on Franklin Turnpike, Waldwick, New Jersey. After several years of owning Aargon Nursery he sold it and began Melnyk Landscaping. Melnyk Landscaping was well known around Bergen County and is still in business today. He touched countless lives and his ever lasting impact will be remembered by all those fortunate to know him
Stephen Melnyk is survived by his loving daughters, Karen Proksch and Sally Krawczyk, son in laws, Bill Proksch and Joe Krawczyk, his brother, John Melnyk as well as his loving grandchildren Kaitlin & Brendan Proksch, Kyla, Reagan, & Kendall Krawczyk. Stephen is predeceased by his loving wife, Rebecca Melnyk.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Donation Processing, PO Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014.
Family & Friends are invited to the following;
Visitation will be held Tuesday, November 21, 2023 from 4 - 8pm at Vander Plaat Funeral Home, 257 Godwin Ave, Wyckoff, NJ 07481
The Funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, November 22, 2023 10am at Church of the Nativity, 315 Prospect St, Midland Park, NJ 07432
Burial will follow at St Luke’s Cemetery 348 N. Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, 07423