Thomas Eldon Melvin, Harrington, passed away after a courageous 11 year battle with cancer, on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at his home surrounded by his loving wife, children, and pastor, he was 74. Tom was born in Greensboro, the eldest son of the late, Cornelius and Charlotte Ann Melvin.
Tom was the owner and operator of the Thomas E. Melvin & Son Funeral Home of Harrington, which he built and officially opened in 1991. He had a love for his community that was evident by all. He cared for so many over the years and thought of every one as family. He was always there to dole out his hugs and his laughter and joking around were always well timed to heal or foster a broken heart. His knowledge and expertise was sought out by many and he was always willing to give out advice or even lend a helping hand to anyone that needed it. He was always a phone call away. He was truly a pillar in Harrington and cared deeply for his community.
Tom was a 1964 graduate of Dover High, and a 1974 graduate of John Tyler Community College, majoring in mortuary science. Tom had many occupations over the years in addition to his role as a funeral director. Early in life, he started out as a bank teller for Farmers Bank. He also worked at IBM in Wilmington, worked on the night shift at Draper King Cole, was the assistant manager at the Felton Perdue Plant before it burned down, and a live haul crew manager for Perdue in Salisbury for many years in charge of numerous catching crews. For a brief period in time, Tom owned a chicken farm where together with family, worked two layer houses collecting upwards of 15,000 eggs a day. Prior to building his own funeral home, Tom worked for Berry Funeral Home, the Andy Rice Funeral Home of Lewes, and also for Hardesty Funeral Home of Bridgeville. He was officially licensed as a funeral director in 1974 and held licenses in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. He was the first recipient in Delaware to hold the distinguished title of CFSP, Certified Funeral Service Practioner, a distinction held by those who go above and beyond in training and service.
Tom held many memberships in the community, and held leadership roles in most as well. He was a member of the Harrington Lions Club, where he served as past President and Treasurer; Harrington Fire Company; Harrington Senior Center; Harrington Business Association, Hollywood Cemetery board, and the Calvary Wesleyan Church. Professional organizations he belonged to included the Delmarva Funeral Service Assoc., National Funeral Directors Assoc., and the Delaware Funeral Directors Assoc., where he served as President, Treasurer, and member of the Policy Board.
Working seven days a week as a funeral home owner and operator, and his involvement in various organizations did not leave much free time. However, he did enjoy bowling on a league, riding his motorcycle, watching westerns, football, and eating out. He did enjoy traveling and looked forward to going to the Outer Banks every year. His work ethic, attention to detail, and love for fellow man was passed along to his children who continue to operate the business he started so many years ago. There is no amount of words that can describe a man that loved his family so very much and his community. His legacy will live on in the imprint he left on Harrington, and in the hearts of his children and grandchildren.
Tom is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Bonnie D. Melvin; daughters and sons in law, Tammy (Bruce) Williamson, Crystal (Mark) Johnson; son, C. Eugene Melvin; brothers, Joe (Eleanor) Melvin, Dean (Karen) Melvin, David (Eleanor Killen) Melvin; grandchildren, Carson Thomas Williamson, Devynn Charlotte Melvin, Dylan Eugene Melvin, Danyell Makalynn Melvin, and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, close friends.
Due to the CDC and Delaware guidelines imposed during the Covid pandemic, a funeral service will be private. With the current restrictions in place now, and anticipating the large volume of lives that Tom touched, it would be impossible to host all of the friends and acquaintances, therefore funeral services will be reserved for family. However, a public visitation will be held on Monday, August 17, 2020 at the Funeral Home that he worked so hard to establish, from the hours of 4 to 7 PM. He will be laid to rest at the Hollywood Cemetery. Masks and social distancing will be in effect for all services.
In lieu of flowers, donations are strongly encouraged to the Delaware Hospice, 911 South DuPont Hwy., Dover, DE 19901, or to the Calvary Wesleyan Church, 240 Delaware Ave., Harrington, DE 19952.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Thomas E. Melvin & Son Funeral Home, please visit us at www.melvinfuneralhome.com to express or send condolences.
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