Billy Ray Melvin, 60, of Sutherland passed away Nov. 16, 2021 at the Gothenburg Memorial Hospital in Gothenburg.

Billy was born on May 28, 1961 in Sutherland to Billy Ross Melvin & Anna Marie Arensdorf Melvin. He graduated from North Platte High School in 1979.

Billy met Donna Jo Barnum at a street dance in Stapleton in 1978 they dated and fell in love. They were married on May 10, 1980 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in North Platte.

After their marriage they lived north of Paxton and worked for the Lawler Ranch, they did not stay there long as mom got homesick. They then moved north of Stapleton and worked for Pawnee Spring Ranch where Brandi and Dani were born.

After leaving there they worked for Milldale Ranch in Stapleton. When they left Milldale they moved to Axtell and dad worked on a pig farm. He came home to eat lunch one day and mom made pork chops for lunch and dad smelled like pigs. Mom was very homesick and we don’t think pig farming was his calling so dad only worked there for three days.

After moving back, they worked for John and Cecila Harshfield North of Sutherland where the baby of the family, Amy, was born. He worked for Harshfield’s for nine years.

After leaving in January of 1997 they moved south of Sutherland and worked for Herschel & Susan Beveridge until January of 2014. They bought the ranch from Lloyd Boyer and made it their home for the last seven years.

He loved cleaning up and fixing things around the place to make it theirs. He had a true passion for helping people and one of the things that he loved was the Sutherland Rodeo. He was very dedicated to helping get the new building and updating the rodeo grounds.

He also enjoyed going to Arizona, Wyoming and different places in Nebraska to judge dog trials. He has judged the Nebraska state fair dog trials for several years.

He was a very gentle man when he was working with animals. Some like to say he was an animal whisperer. He had a special way with animals and humans.

He was a friend to all, and anyone that met him could vouch for that. He was always willing to lend a hand and share a laugh.

He loved his grandkids fiercely, and was always willing to teach them something new, whether it was fixing the fence, branding calves, checking cows, riding horses, feeding hay with the tractor and sleigh, or even helping out in the garden, he loved to spend time with them.

Although our hearts are broken, we have all been touched by Bill’s kind and caring heart.

Billy is survived by wife, Donna Jo Barnum Melvin of 41 years of Sutherland; children, Brandi (Lucas) Anderson and their children Brylee, Scotty, Lane & Andi, Danelle (Joshua) Bode and their children Ryleigh & Colin all of Sutherland, Amy (Chauncy) Hesseltine, and their children Ea, Mea, Rowdy, & Ryder of Paxton; mother, Anna Melvin of North Platte; mother-in-law, Sara Barnum of Stapleton; aunt, Twila Miller of North Platte; siblings, Jack (Jodine) Arensdorf of Sutherland, Charlene (Stanley) Freeman, Donna Jo (Steve) Wright, all of North Platte; twin sister, Becky (Art) Kramer of Stapleton, Travis (Jennifer) Melvin of Doniphan, Jason (Denise) Melvin of North Platte.

He is preceded in death by his dad, Billy Ross Melvin; sister, Darlene Melvin; and father-in-law, Ora Lee Barnum.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24 at Grace Lutheran Church in Sutherland with Pastor JA Welsh officiating. Visitation will be at Adams & Swanson Funeral Home on Tuesday, Nov. 23 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with family present from 9-11 a.m. Adams & Swanson Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

For those unable to attend, the service will be livestreamed via the Adams and Swanson Funeral Home Facebook page.

A memorial has been established to the Sutherland Rodeo, Inc. Online condolences may be shared at

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