My Father's obituary. I removed the family stuff at the beginning for privacy, but wanted to share some of the life of this amazing man.
Obituary for Gerald "Jerry" Edward Melton
Jerry was a beloved art teacher in the Birmingham Public Schools for 48 years, beginning his career there in 1967, at Baldwin Elementary School. He was honored as the Birmingham Teacher of the Year in 1982.
Mr. Melton taught at 18 buildings, including the majority of his years at Harlan Elementary, where he was instrumental in converting the courtyards into little nature centers. He spent the final 20 years of his career at Birmingham Covington School.
Jerry inspired generations of young people to pursue successful careers, many in the art and design fields. Throughout his career, he also taught after-school enrichment classes in art appreciation, rocketry, wood shop, model car and airplane design, and the Young Astronauts Program. For years, classes of his students constructed wooden cities scaled for toy cars to be donated to children in need. In 1986 the community of Pierce Elementary worked together to build his design for converting an old school bus into The Pierce Spaceliner, a passenger Space Shuttle experience for the students in honor of Christa McAuliffe, the teacher lost in the Challenger Disaster.
His love for educating young people, extended beyond the public schools. He served as a Cub Scoutmaster, Sunday School Teacher, illustrated numerous books for educators, taught Aerospace Education at Oakland University, and taught Saturday art classes at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Association (now Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center) for many years.
Jerry was an avid photographer of aviation, sports cars, and nature. A passionate fan of sports car racing, he spent time as a corner worker and photographer at Green Valley Raceway in Texas. During those college years at North Texas State University, he was also a cartoonist for Sports Car Graphic Magazine. In the late 1960’s he became the photographer for the Detroit Region Sports Car Club of America. His catalog of sports car photography starting from 1962 has been featured in several international books, magazines, and websites for collectors and restorers.
He deeply loved the family home on the lake; surrounded by nature’s wonder at the 1940’s cottage he spent more than half his life lovingly renovating. His serene seating areas remain, tucked around the yard.
Jerry lived life with a passion for teaching, for learning, for art, and for creativity. He was a man of incredible humor, intelligence, integrity, and dedication. His family, friends, and former students, are far richer, having had him in their lives. He will be missed immeasurably by all who knew him.
Suggested memorials to the American Cancer Society.
http://www.cancer.org/MyAcs/index 20450 Civic Center Drive, Southfield, MI 48076, United States