In Memory

Melodee L. Bast

Melodee L. Bast

(nee Bast) Eckenrod, Melodee Lyn

b. 07/31/1954 Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., WI

m. 10/05/1974 Milwaukee Co., WI  to Gary Edward Eckenrod, Class of 1973)


d. 10/30/2023 

Melodee Lyn Bast
My beautiful mother, Melodee Lyn Bast, age 69, passed away on October 30, 2023. While it is never easy to say goodbye to a loved one, especially a parent, my hope is that she has now reunited with her beloved mother, Lorraine Bast, father, Harlan Bast, and brother, Ronald Bast, all of whom she loved and missed dearly.
Melodee was born July 31, 1954, in Milwaukee. She graduated from Custer High School in 1972 and prided herself on her work at the phone company and as a school bus driver, until she began her proudest and greatest role as a mother to Shelby with her now-former husband, Gary, in 1987. After a few years, she began working as a city bus driver for MCTS, where she worked as a single mom for much of it until her retirement in 2017. She then drove for a limo company part-time until last summer. My mom was known and admired by so many for her freshly pressed work uniforms, her magnificent jewelry, her signature hair and her smile.
Melodee had many hobbies; Victorian houses, sewing and cross stitch, collecting antiques, and gardening were among her favorites. She loved old movies and old music, especially the era of Motown and the one and only Elvis Presley. My mom loved the beach and to travel (minus the flights), and got to see fun places like Disneyland, Disneyworld, Cancun, New Orleans, Puerta Vallarta, Memphis, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Myrtle Beach. She was fortunate to meet many life-long friends who shared the same passions along the way. Over the last ten years, Melodee became active in the planning committee for her graduating Custer High School class. Her dedication and work on the committee led to her unofficial "Mother Custer" title.
My mom was the strongest, liveliest, and most generous person I've ever known. She could make conversation with anyone and remembered things that were important to those she cared about, checking in with them often.

In June 2020, she received the devastating breast cancer diagnosis. She fought so hard through it all and shortly after surgery, went into remission. It wasn't until August of 2023 when she found out the cancer had returned. It was a tough few months in and out of hospitals, but my mom was cared for and supported by many wonderful healthcare professionals, friends, and family, and always had a smile on her face or a joke lined up, even until the very end.
Melodee is survived by her only daughter, Shelby, son -in-law, Chris, her little brother Don, with whom she shared some of her greatest laughs with, her sister-in-law Bobbi, her nephew, Harley, and numerous friends, colleagues, and neighbors.
Visitation will be on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at 12pm with an open moment of sharing at 2pm at Jelacic Funeral Home, 5639 W. Hampton Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53218. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wisconsin Humane Society Home | Wisconsin Humane Society ( She loved dogs and was a dog-mom to many over the years, including her precious Stella.
Mom, I hope you get to see your sunshine again, and even though it feels like mine is gone for now, I know you will be the light in my heart forever. I love you, bunches.

--Shelby Eckenrod, Nov 04,2023--

(nee Bast, b. 07/31/1954)

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11/02/23 02:56 PM #5    

Janet L. Anderson (Miller)

Melodee was a humerous contribution to our many highschool classes together.  Always active.  

11/02/23 11:38 PM #6    

Glen Ward

So sorry to hear this just saw her and talked to her so sweet she was R.I.P my friend!!!

11/03/23 12:45 PM #7    

Jeff Keinert

It is with great shock I learn of Melody's death...I served on several of the Reunion committees with her.  She was a blessing to all of us who worked with her.   She was a survivor in so many ways, and gave so much to the Reunion planning.,and by all appearances was doing great last fall at #50.    Her death is another reminder to all of us that we have an earthly expiration date....planned in advance by our Creator.  Our task is to seek our purpose on  this side of eternity, and be prepared for the rest of the story ....which is our spiritual side.   I gave Mel a copy of the Purpose Driven Life....a book I found very enlightening.    My prayer for her was , and is for all classmates, is to seek and find the Truth about life and be sure of our Eternal destination.   If any reading this would like a copy of  Purpose Driven Life, let me know.  God Bless.





11/04/23 12:12 PM #8    

Barbara A. Polacheck (Taylor)

I am so sorry to hear of Melodee's passing.  She was such an energetic and kind woman.  Very thankful so many classmates were able to see her and reconnect at our 50th reunion.  She will be greatly missed.

11/05/23 08:38 PM #9    

Rita S. Quintero (Dern)

Melodee you will be so very missed because you were so very loved.  You had the wonderful gift of "connecting" people and imagine you're accomplishing the same in heaven.  We are sad - there's a big hole here on earth. May God bless your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers with peace and strength until God organizes the sweet heavenly "reunion". We take comfort thinking of your special reunion with your beloved mom and dad. Heaven has gained a gift in you. Thank you for connecting your Custer classmates throughout the years. Sending hugs and love to you in heaven - Dennis and Rita Dern

11/06/23 02:13 PM #10    

Debra M. Ewig (Gans)

I'm so sorry to hear of Melodee's passing. She definitely helped keep our class connected by organizing our class reunions. She had a kind heart and will be dearly missed. Bless you and RIP!

11/06/23 07:03 PM #11    

Jacquelin J. Thomas (Prom)

This news just knocked me dead in my tracks.  Melodee gone.....say it isn't so.  Thank you Melodee for all your hard work on the many reunions we have had.  Custer grads, Melodee would want us to continue to move

forward with her efforts.  We can't let it die.  Sweet Melodee rest in Love and eternal peace.



Jacque Thomas Prom



























11/27/23 04:30 PM #12    

Denise K. Becker (Reese)


I am in the writing mood today, so I would like to take a moment to  honor Melodee, who was such a loyal soul to the Custer class of 1972.  She was a determined, independent woman, who worked voraciously at keeping us all together.  She enjoyed planning the reunions, and lived to see us all enjoying ourselves at something that she planned.  I think Melodee, aptly nicknamed, "Mother Custer", acted like a mother bird in her life.  For example, once you got on her bus, you would be under her wing until you safely landed at your destination.  She did the same thing with her family and friends, and it was clear that the whole Class of 1972, whether she knew you or not, you were under her wing, and she was going to keep you close through the reunions.  One cute story, which tells a little about her spirit:  The 50th reunion took its toll on her, and for part of our planning, she was fighting cancer and worried about getting Covid at the same time.  By the last month of planning, she was adamant that she would never plan a reunion again!  This was it!  Everyone had better come and enjoy it!!  As the actual night of the reunion went on and she saw people having fun, she started talking about maybe we could do something in 5 years, but more casual.  Later in the night she started talking about how maybe we should do something like a 70th birthday party for all.  She was relentless indeed, and always thinking about you, fellow classmates.  Rest in peace, Melodee.  


01/01/24 10:27 PM #13    

Neal J. Sieglaff

Rest in Peace Melodee, thank you for all your work for the class of '72 and for being so nice and careing when organizing for the reunion.

Neal & Ellen Sieglaff

03/27/24 02:01 PM #14    

Karen D. Bauer (Freimuth)

So many of the comments already posted reflect Melodee - happy, fun, involved for the good of our graduating class, a testimony to the nice, kind, friendly person she was. So surprised to have learned of her passing as she seemed to be one of those eternal people who would always be there. RIP. 

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