Ocean Beach 07

Dr. Tamene Melkamu

February 4, 1962 ~ November 30, 2021 (age 59)

Obituary

 

A beloved husband, father, brother, servant leader, and friend, Dr. Tamene Melkamu departed from this earth peacefully on Tuesday, November 30th at 4PM CST after a valiant battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He was surrounded by loved ones in the comfort of his home. Over 14 long months, Dr. Tamene received chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and integrative medicine treatments. He traveled to California and South Dakota for clinical trial treatments. And he praised the Lord through it all. Today, his spirit is free. His faithfulness, courage, and resolve for life continued during the final few days.

 

Dr. Tamene is survived by his wife of 32 years Zewditu Gunja; his five daughters Mahader, Tsega, Hallal, Lalise, and Saron; his parents Huluagerish Desta and Melkamu Worku; his siblings Aleligne, Abaynesh, Yetimgeta, Genet, Meseret, and Tsigereda; and his extended and chosen family beyond.

 

Dr. Tamene Melkamu was born on February 4th, 1962 in Nedjo, Ethiopia. He came into this world on the eve of Tir Medhanealem, a holiday fondly celebrated by his mother. He grew up in Nedjo, before moving to the region’s capital city Nekemte for high school. He earned a doctorate of veterinary medicine from Addis Ababa University in 1986, one of the most competitive fields in Ethiopia during that time. Dr. Tamene was then one of two students in the country selected to continue doctoral training in Germany in 1991. His growing family eventually moved to Minnesota in 1994. Restarting his career, Dr. Tamene earned his third doctorate in comparative molecular biosciences from the University of Minnesota in 2009. As a research scientist, he dedicated 30+ years to improving human health. 

 

Dr. Tamene was a committed servant leader in his family, church, and cultural communities. Driven by his faith, he loved others fiercely. He was a dedicated husband and proud father. He served as a mediator, adviser, administrator, and more. He joyfully served his local Zion Evangelical Fellowship Church for over 20 years, through his humble tear-filled preaching, eldership, family counseling, and more. He and his wife Zewditu also hosted countless newcomers to America over the years. Dr. Tamene served the Ethiopian Community in Minnesota as president beginning in 2006, leading the organization’s nonprofit incorporation. Beginning in 2020, he also served an interfaith and multiethnic coalition of Ethiopian diaspora advocating for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. His heart broke over the historical and recent violence in Ethiopia.

 

Dr. Tamene enjoyed quality time with family and friends, bible study, road trips, beef jerky, corn on the cob, shiro, sharing coffee or tea with others, and deep conversations. He used joy and honesty as tools to communicate and connect with those around him. Many remember him for his infectious smile and encouraging spirit.

 

He believed in the will of God and fought terminal illness with profound grace, compassion, and strength. Through many painful and exhausting treatments, Dr. Tamene committed to writing his memoir, a vision that God had planted in his heart spring 2020. He completed the manuscript. According to his wishes, Dr. Tamene’s family will publish the memoir in Amharic, Afaan Oromo, and English.

 

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40

 

“Love, love, love,” Dr. Tamene advised his daughters in the final few days. “Don’t be afraid to sow love. You will reap love, too.”


 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Tamene, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Saturday
December 11, 2021

9:30 AM to 10:00 AM
Zion Evangelical Fellowship Church
1632 Charles Ave
St. Paul, MN 55104

Funeral Service
Saturday
December 11, 2021

10:00 AM
Zion Evangelical Fellowship Church
1632 Charles Ave
St. Paul, MN 55104

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