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James "Melon" M. Camilli

December 17, 1960 ~ December 7, 2021 (age 60)

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          It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of a great, fun guy (way too early), James Michael (Melon) Camilli, 60, of Taconite, MN.  Melon passed peacefully, at home, on December 7, 2021 from a short illness with pancreatic cancer.

          Melon was born in Grand Rapids, MN on December 17, 1960. He was a proud member of Local 49 for over 30+ years, working only for Northern Industrial Erectors as a Heavy Equipment Operator. Melon Honorably served his Country in the Army National Guard for over 20 years, retiring as First Sergeant. He lived 50 years of his life in Taconite, was a 20 year dedicated member of the Taconite Fire and Rescue, served on the City’s Council and as Mayor, was a life-long supporter of the Taconite American Legion (where he had a lot of really good times sipping a refreshing PBR or Crown Royal!) and served as Adjutant for 15 years. Melon was proud of his family, friends, accomplishments, but stated his most gratifying experience was in 2018 when he and his wife Lauri adopted their son, Grayson. Melon and Lauri genuinely enjoyed the past 30 years together and shared numerous motorcycle adventures, a few quests to their private island in the Bahamas and countless, enjoyable camping journeys and events with family and friends. Melon’s life spanned years of grouse, duck, goose & deer hunting in addition to fishing the elusive walleye year round. Melon was also a talented woodworker; building, fabricating and fixing everything with his hands. These were his true passions of solace, especially during his final year of life.

Melon was preceded in death by younger brother’s Patrick Hugh Camilli in 2010, Paul David Camilli in 2013 and step-sister Lisa Morse in 2019.

He leaves behind a large family he impacted immensely. Left to mourn this humble individual: his bereaved wife, Lauri, six children, 10 grandchildren, one grandson on the way, a large extended family, life-long friends and co-workers:

Grayson at home, Jeremy (Erika) Camilli of Taconite, Nichole (Josh) Lang of Sartell, Thomas (Molly) Waseleski of Hibbing, Michael (Ashley) Waseleski of Taconite, Susan (Kyle) Peterlin of Hibbing. Grandchildren Avery, Gavin, Brody, Nolan, Johnny, Geno, Alexa, Kylie, Wesley, Leon and baby Monte on the way!

Mother Carolyn (Wayne) Behrendt, father Joseph (Diane) Camilli, brother Jay (Danita) Camilli. Sister-in-law’s Stephanie Mayo and Sharlene Havens and his first wife Gayle Vogel.

Lafond step-siblings: Gene (Terri) Lafond, Amber (Keith) Niemann, Dameon (Krissy) Lafond, Hope (Kent) Demarias.

Behrendt step-siblings: Janine Behrendt, Jim Morse, Melissa (Keith) Christen, Tracy (Fran) Huiras, John (Shawn) Behrendt and Russ Behrendt.

Pallbearers will be his four sons and two son-in-laws. Honorary Pallbearers will be Melon’s Gal Pals, Twig Kyllander & Kris Troumbly; and Taconite buddies: Mooch, Egg, Billy, Guy, Cotton, Bird, Ree, Boomer, Ace, Sked, Rabbit, Bucket, Felix, Dusty, Frank, Rock, Block, Nistler, Deacon, Darrell, Que, Trikey, TJ, Buzz, Brock, Abes, Big Al, Geffy, Fleabag, Spook, Nels, Bogey,  the Mojos, Damian to name a few.

A Service will be held at Peterson Funeral Chapel in Coleraine, MN at 1:00 PM on December 10, 2021. Officiant will be Reverend Milos Zivkovic of St. Basil of Ostrog Serbian Orthodox Church. Interment will be at Lakeview Cemetery in Coleraine with Military Honors, followed by a meal and socializing at the Taconite American Legion Whittey-Bennett Post 301 in Taconite, MN. Memory Eternal.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for James "Melon"

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Funeral Service
December 10, 2021

1:00 PM
Peterson Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services

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