As devoted fans on opposite sides of the Vikings-Packers rivalry, Scott Melter and Ken Larson gave each other plenty of ribbing over the years.
But they were friends, first and foremost, so during a phone call in March, Larson cautioned Melter — then vacationing in Mexico — about the brewing coronavirus pandemic.
“I said, ‘You better get your butt up here. This stuff is going around like crazy,’ ” Larson recalled.
Melter eventually returned home to Wyoming, Minn., but fell ill along the way. He died April 1 of COVID-19. He was 60 and about a year removed from a battle with lung cancer.
The next day, his daughter Krystal Pearl of Center City said in a Facebook post that her mother, Treva, was quarantined but that her brother Michael, who lives in Rochester, was able to hold his father’s hand.
Krystal was the oldest child, but because only one was allowed at the hospital, and she had just spent time with her father in Mexico, she declined Michael’s invitation that she go instead. She also answered a question that many people asked: How were the grandchildren — objects of Scott Melter’s affections — holding up?
“Their ‘Poppa’ would be so proud of them because they’re so strong,” she said.
As part of a military family, Melter grew up around the country. He served in the U.S. Army from 1978 to 1984, and after marrying Treva, the couple made their home in Minnesota. He worked as an engineer with Comcast before retiring about a year ago.
Scott and Treva had a winter home in Ridgeland, S.C., and stayed often, too, at the Veterans Campground on Big Marine Lake in Washington County. Larson is the manager there, but the men first became acquainted in 1994 when Larson, who also is a real estate broker, sponsored Melter’s bowling team.
For six consecutive years, Melter, the Vikings fan, and Larson, the Packers booster, made their way to Lambeau Field to “whoop it up and tailgate” for the Vikings-Packers tilts, Larson said. They had side bets, too, calling on the man whose team had lost to don the gear of his opponent.
Larson had the upper hand most of the time, he said. But then came a 2005 playoff game, and a visit later to Brett Favre’s Steakhouse, with Larson sporting Vikings garb — and his good friend smiling.
In addition to his wife and children, Melter is survived by his mother, Mary Anne of Cannon Falls; siblings Mark of Prior Lake, Frank of Tecumseh, Okla., and Deanna Grausam of Minneapolis; and six grandchildren.