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Obituary: Willie Melton, III

As received from the O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home:

Willie Melton, III, 73, a resident of Houghton, passed away at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, on July 24, 2019, following complications of a serious illness.

He was born on September 28, 1945, to Effie and Willie Melton, II. Growing up in Chicago, Willie was the eldest child in the family, and graduated from Tilden Technological High School. As an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, Illinois), his interests focused on sociology, family, social attitudes and social identity. Following completion of his bachelor’s degree in 1969, he started a master’s program there. In 1971 he transferred to Washington State University (Pullman, Washington), completed his master’s degree within a year, and also married Gloria Brown whom he had met in DeKalb. They both began their doctoral studies at Washington State University where he earned his PhD in 1976, and the couple moved to Houghton, Michigan.

Dr. Melton held a full-time faculty position at Michigan Tech from 1976 until January 2009, when he retired as Professor Emeritus in Social Studies. He served on graduate (MS and PhD) theses and project committees in Social Sciences, Humanities, and Forestry, as well as numerous university, college and departmental committees.

He researched topics that included marital stability, family economic and emotional stress, and the relationship between social values and attitudes on public issues. A Fulbright scholarship supported his travels and studies of modernization and technology in India during the 1980s and the East-West Center in Hawaii later provided cultural exchange opportunities in Hong Kong and southern China.

Over the past 40 years, Willie served on community boards of the Copper Country Sheltered Workshop (later Vocational Strategies), Dial Help, copper Country Habitat for Humanity, and the Keweenaw Family Resource Center (and “Treehouse”), among others. He will be remembered for his enduring smile, humor, dedication and thoughtful insight on many levels.

Preceding him in death were a sister, Ladeanya Melton, and his step-father, Arthur Clark.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 47 years, Gloria; son W. Jacarl Melton; daughter, Alicia D. Melton; mother, Effie Clark; father, Willie Melton, II; two brothers, three sisters, and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends. A celebration of Willie Melton’s life will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2019. Visitation will begin at 10:00 am, followed by a service at 11:00 am, both in the Rozsa Center lobby on the Michigan Tech campus.

For memorial gifts in Willie Melton’s honor, please consider wither Copper Country Habitat for Humanity, 1000 W. Quincy, Hancock, MI 49930; Keweenaw Family Resource Center, 850 W. Sharon Avenue, Suite #6, Houghton, MI 49931; or, your preferred non-profit organization.

The O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home of Hancock, Michigan is assisting the family with arrangements. An obituary may be accessed at or online condolences sent to https://www.oneilldennisfh.com/ .

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