Mel Cowger 1943-2024

Mel Cowger 1943-2024

Melvin “Mel” Eugene Cowger, 80, of Topeka, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, at The Gardens at Aldersgate in Topeka.

Mel was born Oct. 19, 1943, in Holton, the son of Jesse Emery and Henrietta Mabel (Van Valkinburgh) Cowger. He graduated from Holton High School in 1961. After high school, Mel attended a Butcher Chef Academy in Toledo, Ohio, in 1962.

Mel was a butcher for Dillon’s Grocery Stores for more than 50 years. He worked and lived in Wichita, Arkansas City and Emporia and spent most of his career in Topeka, where he retired in 2012.

Mel was a lifelong diehard Oklahoma Sooner fan! He was such a fanatical Sooner fan that he would take his vacations to Norman to watch Oklahoma spring football practices and of course to Oklahoma City to watch the Women’s College Softball World Series. He really enjoyed watching and cheering on his beloved Oklahoma Sooner women’s softball team every year.

In the 1980s, Mel coached a competitive traveling girls fast pitch softball team in Topeka called the Shawnee Queens. He took a lot of pride in coaching softball teams.

He was a member of Buck’s Grove United Methodist Church.

Mel was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Mary Louise Cowger; a brother, Marvin Emery Cowger; and a niece, Becky Kirkwood.

He is survived by four nephews, Keith D. Cowger of Topeka, Ron Chrisman of Arcanum, Ohio, Jerry (Becky) Chrisman of Versailles, Ohio, and Russell L. Eby of Fairborn, Ohio; and a niece, Tracy Cowger of Topeka.

Graveside services will be held at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13 at Olive Hill Cemetery. Family will greet friends one hour prior to the graveside service at the Mercer Funeral Home in Holton.

Memorial contributions may be given to the Dementia Society of America, sent in care of Mercer Funeral Home, P.O Box 270, Holton, KS 66436. To leave Mel’s family a message, please visit


The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141


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