Renee June Barker Melville, a tender and loving friend, a masterful and passionate musician, a brilliant historian, and a devoted and adored matriarch passed away at the age of 88 on January 27, 2024 at her home in Salt Lake City while holding the hand of her sweetheart, Marvin. With dignity and grace, Renee battled ongoing illness for years before valiantly and bravely returning to heaven. Renee loved her husband, family, and friends deeply and would ensure you knew of her love through words, service, and connection.
Born to Alvin Barker and June Anderson Barker, Renee grew up on the family farm in Taylorsville, Utah with three older brothers and a younger sister. Renee lit-up when retelling stories of her adored parents and cherished childhood. Renee’s fondness for horses and passion for reading led her to spend many days riding her horse to the library to get books – a passion she passed on to her five daughters and grandchildren by way of her famous Cookie n’ Bookie outings.
While attending Granite High School, Renee caught the eye of her future husband, Marvin Melville. They began dating in high school and were later married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 3,1957. Marvin made it one of his life’s missions to ensure she was well-taken care of and did so lovingly until the very end. They welcomed and raised five beautiful and spunky daughters, and have 29 grandchildren, and 47 great-grandchildren. Renee and Marv balanced each other out in a divinely orchestrated way, evident that they were made for one another. For example, while Marvin ensured his posterity knew how to make their skis carve and what a proper day of exhausting adventure looked like, Renee ensured that they knew how to turn wheat berries into chewing gum while grinding wheat and making bread, and how to relax to a good classic book or old movie. When he was tough, she was tender. When he was cruising, she was calm. While he mastered athletics, she mastered the arts. While he pushed you to your max, she pleasantly pampered you.
Renee attended BYU and the University of Utah, graduating in Elementary Education and becoming an admired 3rd grade teacher. Renee excelled in musical performance – winning the longest-running tradition at the University of Utah: a singing and dancing competition called Songfest. She was also elected and crowned the University’s royalty: Snow Queen. She delighted in composing music and directing various singing groups while at both Universities.
Renee could be found creating music and loved writing original programs. She loved fostering musical ability in others by teaching piano lessons, accompanying singing groups, gathering her five daughters around the piano to sing, encouraging her grandchildren with music lessons, and endlessly singing nursery rhymes and jingles to her adoring babies and grandbabies. She was a lover of art, an admirer of gardening, a history buff, and a force to be reckoned with in Trivial Pursuit. While she never quite mastered the sports related questions, she eventually came to love watching Jazz games with Marvin and even recently dressed up as her favorite player for Halloween. She loved to bake, especially during Christmas time when the scent of tea-rings, wheat bread, pecan rolls, and fudge would fill the air. She took pleasure in delivering these items to her neighbors or anyone who needed uplifting. She enjoyed hosting special dinners, knew how to set a beautiful table, and tirelessly served her guests. She sewed darling clothing worn by her little girls, thrilled to make them all matching outfits and dresses. These skills extended to exquisite works of embroidery and needlepoint. Renee was fond of traveling with her family — frequent trips to Sun Valley and the family cabin held some of her favorite memories.
Her love, compassion, charity, and empathy for others were sincere and drove her to accomplish greatness in the realm of Christ-like service. She was a faithful and devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She uplifted and generously loved the people she served. She studied for hours preparing memorable lessons and ministered diligently to those around her in need, frequently with warm bread in hand. Often confined to her home and not feeling well for much of the last two decades of her life, Renee found it within herself to comfort, nurture, and uplift those that came to feel her loving presence.
Renee had a gift for making each daughter, spouse, grandchild, and great grandchild feel individually special and deeply loved. She was nurturing and connected with loved ones uniquely and in ways that left you knowing she loved you just as you were and that she was overjoyed with the things you were doing in life. Renee is a very special spirit and will always be a hero to the countless lives she touched. Her spirit is now free and her legacy of love can live on through all she loved. For now we will look for rainbows and stars, evidence she is watching over us; and we look forward to the day we get to hear her sweet, “Whooo, who” followed by a great big hug and kiss.
She is survived by her sweetheart of 66 years, Marvin Melville, her 5 daughters: Marti (Mark) Melville, Shari (Mickey) Taylor, Mindy (Brad) Fogg, Shelly Andresen, and Molly (Lane) Mansell, 29 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren, 4 siblings: Richard Barker, Shyrl Barker, Duane Barker and Sandra "Penny" Dunn.
A viewing will be held on Sunday, February 4th from 6-8 pm at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 E. Dimple Dell Road (10600 S), Sandy, Utah 84092
Funeral Services will be held Monday, February 5th at the Willow Creek Stake Center, 2350 E. Creek Road, Sandy, Utah 94093 at 11:00 am. Viewing one hour prior. Interment will be in the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park. To view previously held services or to leave online condolences please visit www.larkinmortuary.com
The family would like to express their deep appreciation to Mindy for her time and devotion to her mother’s healthcare, accompanying her on appointments, and ensuring she was tenderly watched over; and to Sara, a dedicated professional, who showed compassionate care for Renee.
In lieu of flowers, provide an act of service.