Melvin Justin Toney was born on June 13, 1972, in Shiprock, New Mexico. He is a fraternal twin with Calvin Toney and one of ten children born to his father, Justin Toney, and mother, Helen Begay Toney. Melvin’s Navajo clans are Bit’ahnii (Folded Arms People clan), born for the Naakai Dine’e (Mexican clan), Todikonzhi (Sour water clan) and Tl’aashchi’i (Red Bottom clan).

Melvin was a resident of Moab and grew up attending Helen M. Knight and Southeast
Elementary schools and Grand County Middle School. He graduated from Grand County High School in 1992. Mel’s siblings Andrew, Sylvia, Calvin and Ambrose all graduated from Grand County High School.

Mel loved his country music. Artists such as Earl Thomas Conley, George Strait, and Garth Brooks were among his favorites but he also loved many more country artists. Mel had a good collection of CDs and of course cassettes, for you oldies out there. Music seemed to bring a certain calmness to his life and he drew inspiration from the music as he created beautiful works of art for family and friends. Many of his drawings were just given away to dear friends and family since he enjoyed sharing. He loved to draw portraits and sports figures such as Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.

Mel was a quiet soul. He took great care of his mother and had a close bond with her. He would often call to make sure she was doing ok when she was away from home too long, which meant he missed her. Together they took care of multiple cats and came up with unique names for each of them such as Molly, Mickey, Chloe and Calvary’s Cat.

Mel had many odd jobs from lawn care to construction-type employment. Some jobs allowed him to travel away from Moab, but he always returned home. He loved Moab and the outdoors. Many residents will have seen him ride his bike all around town. He participated in local softball and basketball rec leagues and was a skilled natural athlete. His favorite NCAA basketball team was the North Carolina Tar Heels, his favorite NBA team was the Chicago Bulls and he loved the Dallas Cowboys.

Melvin’s long-time girlfriend, Maria Vigil, is a very special person who loved him and cared for him unconditionally. The family is forever grateful for her love for him and for being with him through the happy times and the sad times. She spent many hours visiting him after his initial traumatic brain injury. Maria shared that he loved his family and respected them deeply.

Melvin is survived by his mother, Helen Begay Toney; his father, Justin Toney; Nancy Sam (Lester), Alex Toney, Maxine Lynch (Bill Lynch), Kenneth Toney (Sue Benn), Sylvia Platero (Mario Platero), Calvin Toney, Ambrose Toney (Lovena Toney). He was preceded in death by his older brother, Andrew Toney; his grandmother, Marie Begay; his grandfather, David Begay; his older brother, Ricky Toney; and Jess and Alice Toney.

Our family wishes to express our sincere appreciation for the visits, phone calls, and donations poured out to Mel’s mother and his family. Any additional funding received beyond our request will be applied towards the medical expenses. There is a GoFundMe account at

Funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, at 11 a.m. at the Moab Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Stake Center (701 Locust Lane) with a viewing one hour prior to the service.

You may send condolences to the family at