Even though 24 years have come and gone since the retirement of Melvin S. Sjerven, news of his death last week at the age of 93 is certain to be met with sadness as well as fond memories by many veteran readers of Milling & Baking News. Associated with this publication over a period spanning three decades, Mr. Sjerven was a well-known figure, especially in the grain and milling sectors.
In many respects, the entirety of the history of The Southwestern Miller and then Milling & Baking News may be seen in a review of Mr. Sjerven’s career. He worked for and was well acquainted with the Sosland brothers who established the magazine in 1922 – Sam, Sanders and David. It was when David Sosland died in 1968 that Mr. Sjerven moved to Kansas City at the request of Morton Sosland, eventually becoming the magazine’s senior editor of markets. His successor in that position, Josh Sosland, currently is editor of Milling & Baking News. The senior editor of markets for the last 15 years has been Mel’s son Jay.
Mel’s career spanned some of the wildest times ever for grain markets. Respected for his keen intelligence, clear writing style and market insights, Mel also was admired for his invariably calm demeanor, even in the face of the pressures that accompanied highly volatile markets and the constant pressures of publishing deadlines. The model he set remains one to which his successors still aspire.