Melvin Waldrop Obituary (1949 – 2022) – Bakersfield, CA


September 28, 1949 – January 29, 2022

Melvin Roy (Mel) Waldrop passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones at his home in Bakersfield on January 29, 2022 at the age of 72.

Mel was born in Bakersfield on September 28, 1949 to Roy (Dick) and Bonell Waldrop. He was the second of three children. Mel grew up in the Delano/Earlimart area of ​​Kern County where he became known as a hard worker and talented athlete with a witty, dry sense of humor. Mel attended Delano High School and Porterville College. At Porterville College, he wrestled on the Central California Conference Championship Wrestling wrestling tag team in 1970. In 1993, Mel was inducted into the Porterville College Athletic Hall of Fame.

In the summer of 1972, at Delano Bowling Alley, Mel meets Janet Zaninovich, who quickly becomes the love of her life. Janet and Mel were married on June 3, 1978 and welcomed two boys to their family, Matthew (1984) and Anthony (1988). When her sons were growing up, Mel enjoyed helping them with their various school sports, sometimes as a coach and always as a supportive fan. Family trips often involved activities such as exploring national parks, attending major league baseball games, bass fishing at his mother’s property in Oklahoma, water rafting keen on the Kern River, mountain biking and hiking. Many friends and family members have fond memories of playing sports and vacationing with Mel. He was an avid Boston Red Sox fan and one of his favorite trips when the boys were young was taking the family to a game at Fenway Park in Boston and touring the ballpark, including the Big Green Monster. Other baseball fields Mel visited were Wrigley Field, Texas Rangers Stadium, Baltimore Orioles Stadium, Angels Stadium, and Dodgers Stadium.

One of Mel’s most defining characteristics was his work ethic. As a house painter/handyman for over 40 years, he has always given his best to every job. This manifested in the fact that he never had to advertise, relying on word of mouth in the community to find work. Getting work done by Mel meant you got reliability, quality work, and a fair share of witty puns.

Mel’s work ethic and competitive spirit have combined in remarkable ways over his 20+ year weightlifting career. He has won countless competitions and set numerous world and national records, one of which was a 610 pound deadlift in his 165 pound weight class. Mel has traveled all over the United States and once to London for these competitions. When he was done with competing in the late 1990s, Mel continued to train other lifters for their events. He was always humbled by his accomplishments and would rather find the next competition friendly than talk about past triumphs.

Throughout his life, Mel has been drawn to physical activity and competition. He enjoyed playing in recreational sports leagues, his favorites being fast pitch softball, slow pitch softball, USTA tennis and pickleball. When not playing himself, he was Janet’s favorite fan at her many tennis and pickleball tournaments where he made many valuable new friendships. More recently, some other favorite activities have included card nights with family and friends (5 crowns or gin rummy 500), newspaper crosswords, reading, going to the casino (with her mother and brother), helping Janet in the garden, growing the best peaches, movie nights and dining at Happy Jacks. Mel also enjoyed spending time at his son Matthew’s house in Nipomo, enjoying the view, hiking Killing Hill, watching deer, going to the movies, and picking up dinner at Jocko’s Restaurant. He also enjoyed traveling to the Pacific Northwest where his son Anthony and daughter-in-law Megan live. Activities there included hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, visiting Anthony’s shipyards, and learning new card games.

Mel’s calm, generous and mischievous presence will be greatly missed by friends and family. We will cherish our memories of him every time we do one of his favorite activities and we will never forget the special twinkle he would get in his eyes teasing Janet or trying to pull a quick one on someone. .

Mel is survived by his wife Janet, sons Matthew and Anthony (wife Megan), mother Bonell, brother Calvin, sister Lavinia (husband Ronnie), many in-laws, nieces and nephews. His father Roy precedes him in death.

A memorial service for Mel will be held Saturday, February 26 at 9:30 a.m. at Hodel’s Country Dining in Bakersfield.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, the National Parks Foundation, or a charity of your choice.


Published by Bakersfield Californian on February 20, 2022.


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