Mr. Ralph Eugene ‘Gene’ Melton, Sr., age 77 of Kingsland, Ga. passed away in the early morning hours of Monday February 2, 2015, at Hospice of the Golden Isles in Brunswick, Ga. after a lengthy illness.
Born Feb. 17, 1937, he was the son of the late Aaron M. and Minnie Pittman Melton of Waycross, Ga. As one of 10 children, Mr. Melton at age 16 began to help support his family after the loss of his father in 1952. He joined the U. S. Air Force and served his country in Homestead, Fl., and in Africa. He married the love of his life, the former Mary Frances Turner Melton of Waycross, Ga. on March 7, 1959. He worked at Rubin Brothers in Waycross, Ga. prior to relocating to St. Marys, Ga. in 1961. He worked with Gilman Paper Company for 25 years, the last of which was as a maintenance supervisor for the company. It was evident by friends, family and co-workers that he was extremely proud to be a part of the Gilman organization, and his wife Mary often said she believed he loved the men, his Gilman family, as much as he loved her.
Mr. Melton was a member of the Camden Water Patrol, a volunteer group who helped stranded boaters, as well as search and rescue missions in the inland waterways and rivers of Camden. He was also a Mason, a member of Masonic Lodge 109, and the Masonic Camping Club #214. He was a member and served as deacon of the First Baptist Church of Harriett’s Bluff in Woodbine, Ga. for many years, and was a member of the Kingsland First Baptist Church in Kingsland, Ga. at the time of his passing. While he loved to hunt and fish, friends and family would say that his greatest enjoyment was his family. Some of his fondest memories were boating on the St. Marys River, the company of good friends, pulling his daughter on water skis on the river, attending car races with his son, his Church, and traveling the country with Mary. He cherished his beloved wife, and adored his children, and had a closeness to his brothers and sisters that was to be admired.
Known by many as Gene, he was highly respected and worked throughout his life to provide for his family. In 1985, he suffered a major stroke, and was told he would never walk again. His doctor was amazed to see him walking again, for Gene worked tirelessly to regain his strength. Although he was never able to return to work at Gilman, his perseverance and determination exemplified the good, honest man you could find in Ralph Melton. He spent the next years enjoying life with Mary, his children, grandchildren, and the rest of his family members, working in his yard, volunteering, and walking hand in hand with God.
Besides his beloved wife Mary of 55 years, Mr. Melton is survived by his loving children, Catherine Elizabeth Kaltenbach and Ralph E. Melton, Jr.,(Amy) both of Kingsland, Ga.; his four grandchildren, Rodney Waldrip of Kingsland, Ga., Brooke Melton O’Shaughnessy (Colin )of Peoria, Arizona, Mackenzie Melton and Madison Melton, both of Kingsland, Ga.; his two great grandchildren, Addison O’Shaughnessy and Grayson O’Shaughnessy, both of Peoria, Arizona; his three sisters, Pearl Tatum of Waycross, Ga., Nella Faye (Nell) Morgan of Kingsland, Ga., and Jeanette Hersey (Curtis) of Waycross, Ga.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Along with his parents, Mr. Melton was also preceded in passing by his four brothers, Cecil, Fleming, Mitchell and Linzy Melton,; and his two sisters, Ruby Thrift & Lucille Haynes, all of Waycross, Ga.
Calling hours will be held from 6 to 8 PM on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at Coastal Camden Funeral Home in Kingsland, Ga. Funeral services for Mr. Melton will be held at 11 AM Thursday, February 5, 2015 at the Kingsland First Baptist Church in Kingsland, Ga., with burial to follow in Oak Grove Cemetery in St. Marys, Ga. Serving as active pallbearers will be his nephews, Mackie Woods, Mickey Fore, Garland Turner, Lawrence Melton, Bud Tatum, Mike Melton, Johnny Morgan and Benjie Hersey. Honorary pallbearers will be Gilman Paper Company powerhouse maintenance employees who worked with Mr. Melton.
February 17, 1937- February 2, 2015