Memorial services will be at 2:00 p.m., Monday, April 20, 2015, at First Presbyterian Church, with Reverend Dr. Murray Gossett officiating. Burial will be private. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Eddie was born July 27, 1912, in California, Missouri to Edna Zeitz Melin and Dr. Henry Victor Melin, Sr. He was reared in Alma, Missouri where he played in a family band and held jobs at the furniture store/funeral home, the creamery, and as a driver of a cattle truck. He graduated from high school at sixteen and attended Central Missouri State College. He paid his tuition by directing, managing, and playing in a dance band called The Whispering Serenaders. After graduation, he taught music in public schools before going to New York where he taught at a private music studio on Park Avenue and attended Columbia University. He received his master’s degree in music with a violin jury in 1940. At the suggestion of a family friend, he moved to Amarillo to teach. Two weeks later, he met Olive Cooper. They were married April 9, 1941 and celebrated their golden anniversary before her death in 1992.
He enlisted in the army in 1942 and served in the Medical Administrative Corps. While stateside, he assisted a chaplain with music for protestant services and got the choir he organized on The Army Hour, a national radio program. As a result, he was ordered to apply for OCS. His platoon commander said he was too small to be an officer. Eddie proved him wrong. When he graduated, he was sent to Camp Grant, Illinois just as the director of the band stationed there was sent overseas. Eddie volunteered for the job and got it. He shipped out in August of 1944 to the European Theater with the 180th general hospital, where, among other things, he served as morale officer and as second in command of a hospital train that ran out of Paris. When he was discharged, Eddie returned to Amarillo and joined his brother-in-law, Sonny Cooper, in the book and record store, Cooper and Melin.
For many years, Eddie played violin in the Amarillo Symphony and served as its business manager. He and Dr. A. Clyde Roller are credited with saving the organization from financial collapse in the early 1950s. He chaired the fund-raising committee for the Amarillo Museum of Art, and helped raise funds to establish Texas in Palo Duro Canyon. He was a member of Rotary for over sixty years and served as its president. He was president of the Better Business Bureau and a supporter of United Way. He attended First Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon and elder. Governor John Connally appointed him to the first Texas Fine Arts Commission. For his work in the arts, he was acknowledged by the West Texas Chamber of Commerce, and given the Summit Award by the Golden Nail Committee and the Beethoven Award. In 2010, The Amarillo Globe News honored him as their Man of the Year.
In recent years, his greatest joy was reading to four-year-olds at The Opportunity School. He participated in an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. and was given the honor or placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He remained in good physical health partly by playing tennis, which he did three times a week until he was ninety-four. On his 100th birthday, his family, friends, and the Amarillo Symphony threw a party and concert for him at the Globe News Center.
Eddied loved to tell stories, and was persuaded to record them in a book, Stories From An Old Man, which was republished in 2014. He was often asked what it took to live such a long life. His response was love, laughter, and music. He enjoyed an abundance of all three.
He also was preceded in death by his parents, and a brother, Vic Jr.
He is survived by his son Bill, daughter Vicki and her husband Gerald Schoen, grandson David Jacobs, all of Amarillo, and his brother-in-law and business partner, Sonny Cooper of Paris, Texas, a niece and a nephew.
The family suggests memorials to the Olive Melin Scholarship Fund at Amarillo College, The Opportunity School, or a favorite fine arts organization.