Melvin J. Perna, age 77, of Sheboygan, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Saturday, November 27, 2021, at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice.
Mel was born on September 4, 1944, in Ishpeming, Michigan, to Walfred and Lydia (Ruuska) Perna. He graduated from Republic High School with the Class of 1962. Mel later married his high school sweetheart, Joy Hakala, at Bethany Lutheran Church in Republic, Michigan. After high school, Mel attended Northern Michigan University, earning his bachelor's degree in Secondary Education with a major in Industrial Arts. Mel and Joy moved to Sheboygan where Mel took a teaching job with the Sheboygan Area School District where he taught for over 30 years at all three Sheboygan Middle Schools. Mel and Joy relocated to California for a year so that Mel could pursue his master's degree at Cal. State - Long Beach. Mel's goal in his teaching career was to impact the lives of all the students that he had in his many classes over the years.
Mel was an avid fisherman. He loved going fishing early in the morning on the north pier in Sheboygan and always looked forward to his yearly Alaska fishing trips. One of the perks of his education in teaching Industrial Arts was that he was an incredible handyman. Mel could and did fix anything that broke - whether it was at home, for friends, or in his rental properties.
Mel and Joy spent much of their summers traveling. They took special trips to Italy, France, Switzerland, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Mexico. They would also take yearly trips back to California to visit their friends, Jeff and Linda.
Mel will be dearly missed by his loving wife, Joy; daughter, Maria Ramirez and her children, Enrique, Castiel, and Eviee; sisters, Jeanette Pietro and Myrna Heilala; brothers, Donald Perna and Raymond Perna; sister-in-law, Jill (Dan) McInnis; niece, Nadine Meacham; other nieces and nephews; and many other relatives and friends.
Mel was preceded in death by his parents, Walfred and Lydia (Ruuska) Perna; father-in-law and mother-in-law, George and Alice (Carlson) Hakala; sisters, Joanne Laakso and Margaret Nelson; and brother, Charles Perna.
Mel's wishes were to be cremated and have a Celebration of Life at Shuff's Last Resort from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM on Monday, December 6, 2021. There will be a Special Tribute to Mel at 5:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund will be established in Mel's name.
Mel's family would like to thank the staff at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Center and the staff at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice for their wonderful care and support.
If you would like to leave a message of sympathy for Mel's family, please visit www.zimmerfuneralhome.com.