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In Memoriam: George Wallace Melvin, Sr.

  George Wallace Melvin, Sr.

George Melvin

On April 15, 2010, after a long battle with a series of diabetes-related health complications, George Melvin left his earthly shell to go home to be with his beloved Lord. He was born May 13, 1946, the son of Rev. Charles D. Melvin and Mary Wilson Melvin, who have both preceded him in death. A brother, Rev. David Melvin, also preceded him.

Surviving family left to love and cherish his memory include: his wife, Alfreda W. Melvin; his son, George W. Melvin, II; a daughter-in-law, Natalie Wilson Melvin; a daughter, Holly P. Rodriguez and husband Enrique; a son, Corrie James Melvin; a stepson Jon M. Hainer and wife Katherine Watkins, and a step-daughter Theresa Hainer and husband Danu Sweet. Surviving and loving siblings include James H. Melvin, Betty J. Harris, Mary Ann Nowlin and husband James “Champ”, and Charles Monroe and wife Mary. Beautiful surviving grandchildren and step-grandchildren include: Alicia Calloway, Christopher, Jaylen and Jacqueline Melvin; Raina and Darius Melvin , Isla Dali Rodriguez; Elijah James Melvin; and Max Sweet. George is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

George Melvin graduated from Campbell County High School in Virginia, and has resided in the Lynchburg / Charlottesville area for all of his life, while performing regionally, nationally and internationally on Hammond B-3 organ, piano and keyboards as bandleader, side musician and studio musician. Born with an astonishing gift for music, he became an accomplished keyboard artist with a natural ear for and knowledge of music. His quick ability to transpose keys made him a favorite with vocalists, and his rare understanding of rhythm brought praise from professional swing and ballroom dancers alike.

He began his professional career at 18 years of age, playing his Hammond B-3 organ with several well-known R&B groups that were managed by All Platinum Studios in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. During his years in the NYC and New Jersey area he was mentored by B-3 organ jazz-master Richard “Groove” Holmes. He eventually gained enough skills for “Groove” to let fans assume that George was his son, as they resembled one another. During the late 70’s George shifted his performances first to solo piano, then added keyboards and computer-based rhythms that resulted allowed him to sound amazingly like a trio. He never forgot his first love however, and during the 80’s he began offering more performances and recordings using his beloved Hammond B-3 organ, “Miss Lucy”.

During the first thirty years of his career, George performed with many well-known musicians, either as a member of their bands or as the “host musician” at the venues where he was employed. Pearl Bailey, Dean Martin, Toots Thieleman, Al Hurt, Grant Green, Miles, Davis, Dexter Gordon, Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Ray Charles, Teddy Pendergrass, Nat Reeves and many others have expanded both his stylings and his repertoire.

His extensive “mental repertoire” easily exceeded 1000 tunes, primarily jazz, swing, R&B, and popular tunes from the thirties to the present, as well as some Broadway tunes, film themes and even a bit of country. He was also a superb Gospel musician in the Pentcostal tradition. He was generous, gentle and patient with children and elders, and regularly volunteered time to play for charitable events, Senior Citizens’ facilities and schools.

The family requests that memorial donations may be made to the American Kidney Fund, or at 6110 Executive Boulevard, Ste 1010, Rockville, MD, 20852, or to the American Diabetes Association.

George Melvin

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