The Rev. Elwin Larry Melton (83) passed away peacefully with family by his side at Salemtowne Retirement Community in Winston-Salem on April 24th. Elwin was called into ordained ministry by the gentle prompting of his maternal grandfather who recognized in him the gifts and graces for ministry. He was born October 8, 1935 in Monroe, North Carolina to Crayton Ray Melton and Wincie Corrine Starnes Melton, who both preceded him in death. He is also preceded in death by his parents-in-law, Noble Haney Helms and Chloe Melton Helms of Monroe.
Surviving him is his spouse and colleague in ministry Ora Lee Helms Melton of Winston-Salem to whom he was married for 63 years. Also surviving him are brothers Jackie Melton and Herbert Melton; sisters Nelda Melton McDonald, Tommie Melton Stegall, Ellen Melton Cox, and Judy Melton Helms—as well as numerous nieces and nephews; children Jennifer Lee Melton of Clemmons and E. Dale Melton (Michelle) of Gastonia; and grandchildren Miranda Leigh Melton of Greensboro, Ashley Katelyn McInnis Perry (Brad) of Rockingham, Loren Dale Melton of Gastonia, and Taylor Reece McInnis of Clemmons.
Before serving as an ordained pastor, Rev. Melton worked in the textile industry as a dyer. Having only a high school degree, he attended Wingate College (at the time) for two years before transferring and finishing his undergraduate degree at Wake Forest College. He entered Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina in preparation for ministry. During his three- and one-half decades in pastoral ministry, Rev. Melton served the congregations of Inez Baptist Church (Warrenton); Pleasant Plains Baptist Church (Whiteville); Cherry Point Baptist Church (Havelock); Falling Creek Baptist Church (Goldsboro); Kennedy Home Baptist Church (Kinston); Red Hill Baptist Church (Polkton); and Mount Croghan Baptist Church (Mount Croghan—his only pastorate in South Carolina). He led innovative approaches to migrant ministry at the State Baptist Convention level, and undertook intentional interim ministry certification late in his vocational life. Rev. and Mrs. Melton retired in 2002.
In January 2013, they moved to Salemtowne Retirement Community in Winston-Salem where their son, Dale,worked at the time. He will be remembered as a loving and ever-present spouse, father, and grandfather. He demonstrated the formative strengths of an emotionally intelligent leader before this quality was made popular. He graced his children, grandchildren, and parishioners with the core values of welcome and hospitality; tolerance and generosity; forgiveness and acceptance; positivity and perspective; along with the power of poise and Presence.
A memorial service celebrating his life and ministries will be held on Sunday, April 28 at 3:00 pm in the Amos Room at the Babcock Health Care Center on the campus of Salemtowne (1550 Indiana Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC 27106). Salemtowne Chaplain Linda Browne and Peace Haven Baptist Church Pastor Nathan Parrish will officiate. He will be laid to rest with family members at Prospect United Methodist Church in Monroe on Thursday, May 2 at 11:00 am. The family will have visitation at the church at 10:00 am. The family wishes to thank the Salemtowne Staff throughout all levels of care for the good life afforded our Father. We are particularly thankful for the Assisted Living Staff during his time there and the loving and affirming/dignified end of life care provided the entire household Staff of Mill Place at the Babcock Health Care Center.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to the McBride-Melton Bookends Endowment Fund (c/o Louisville Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, KY 40205); the Salemtowne Team Member Appreciation Fund (c/o Salemtowne, 1000 Salemtowne Dive, Winston-Salem, NC 27106); or the Parkinson’s Foundation of New York, NY. The family is grateful to the caring services of Davis Funeral Home of Monroe, NC.
Davis Funeral Home of Monroe is honored to be serving the family of Reverend Melton. An on-line guest register book is available at www.davisfuneralservice.com.