For Jade Melby, the end of decades working in the Industrial Arts program at Baker won’t be an ending. He plans to keep busy with his business, Melby’s Seamless Gutters. Jade and his wife, Shelly own a cabin at Rock Creek on Fort Peck Lake that they have been working on for years. After retirement, he plans to finish the addition to the cabin and garage.
Jade said,” I have always wanted to fish in Alaska. Shelby Moore, a student in weight training, always talks to me about fishing in Sitka, AK and the fun she had there. Therefore, I plan to try a Sitka fishing trip out soon. I hope (If I can leave the county).
Jade grew up in Sidney and went to Rocky Mountain College in Billings where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Arts and in history.
His first job was at Neah Bay Junior-Senior High School on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula on the Makah Reservation and just south of the Canadian border. Then the job in Baker opened up after he spent a year in the Evergreen State. “I chose Baker because it was close to home,” he explained.
It was a shop teacher back in Sidney that first inspired Melby and his brother. “My older brother is a shop teacher too in Sidney,” he explained.
When he arrived in Baker almost 30 years ago, he found a pair of teachers who he credits with really helping him - Jim Schillinger and Don Dilworth. “When I first started in Baker I had some good teachers who really helped me,” he explained. “I was young and dumb and made a lot of mistakes but Jim and Don got me through my first five years and got me some confidence.”
“One memorable incident that stands out is about 25 years ago, Don Dilworth called one of his students, Derrick Gorder, Gary. I asked Don, ‘Who is Gary?’ Dilworth responded, ‘That’s his dad, who was also my student, I get the two mixed up all the time.’ At that point, I thought to myself, there is no possible way I will be working here that long. Wrong, here I am.”
Some of the things Jade will miss are the people he works with, the teachers he visits with between classes every day and the office ladies who are cheerful and are always eager to help. “Obviously, I will miss the kids. I enjoyed building projects and sheds in the shop with the students. I will miss exploratory class the most. It was a chance to meet every seventh grade student. The current seventh grade class is a hard working bunch and are a lot of fun,” said Melby.
Melby feels like he has gotten a taste of retirement with the recent shutdown created by the coronavirus pandemic. “It seems like I’ve retired. It seems that we’ve already closed out with this mess,” he said.
In closing, Melby said, “I would like to thank the late Jim Stanton for hiring me and all the subsequent administrators for not firing me. Also, I would like to thank the Fallon County taxpayers for providing me with a paycheck for 27 years.”