Monday, February 10, 2014

Donald Melton, BHS '65 (1947-2014)

It is with a heavy heart I share this news...

Ken Templeton called me this evening to let me know that Don passed away this afternoon. According to Don's daughter, Wendy, the stroke had left him with severe brain damage and there was little hope of any recovery. We all know that Don would never have wanted to be left speechless.

Ken is going to give me Wendy's address to send cards. I will also let you know if and when services will be held.

I leave you with this photo from a play he was in in 2010.

Trudie Lombard Hentze

Don with his beautiful daughter, Wendy


From Sean Cyphers, nephew

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I tell of my Uncle's passing. Donald Melton passed away today at 7:30pm after suffering a stroke on January 28th, 2014. Donald Melton was the Captain of the BHS football team, and while playing football also played the roll of Alfred P. Doolittle in the BHS production of " My Fair Lady". I'll always remember him as the living jungle gym, me and my brother would swing from his arms like little monkeys whenever we would see him.

He was an actor, a mailman, a football hero, a clown, and could have been one of The Three Stooges. He was a father who taught his daughter how to survive and never give up. We loved him, he was the patriarch of our family, taking care of us when things looked a bit sour.

Not really sure if I'll be able to fulfill one of his requests, as I'm pretty sure there would be a few folks that would have heart attacks themselves. We often joked about his funeral, I guess it was his way of preparing us. He joked about him and I taking a short trip to a cliff in Oregon and him taking a short " Walk" or turning himself into a Jack-in-the-box and sitting up in his coffin and waving to everyone that showed up to his funeral.

He was a character, all right! Gonna miss this guy

From Jon and Pam Kirkwood

Dear Peggy and Family,

It is so hard to smile and laugh, when we suffer such a sudden and incredible loss. There are not many "Donny Meltons" that pass through this world (certainly NONE like the one WE knew and loved). When we realize such a "treasure" as Don, has "moved on" to "another stage" in a much "larger theatre", it leaves a giant empty space in our hearts.

Thankfully, we all have so many happy memories of Don that begin to "flood in" and fill that empty space...All of the hundreds of stories, jokes, quips, funny faces, character roles he played, the songs he sang and his "non-stop" patter of chatter were the "gifts" that Donny gave to us, his "family and friends"...Yes, the smiles and laughter were his "gifts"...his legacy. We were all so privileged to have been "his audience" for a while. His very "BEST" role, was the "Starring role" he played in ALL of our lives.

Donny, you have truly earned your "curtain calls" and we all applaud you and thank you with a "standing ovation"...

There will be a LOT OF LAUGHTER ringing out from that Donny Melton has arrived.

With our love and prayers to all of you.

From Ken Templeton

Here is a picture I found of Don that describes how he made me laugh for the past 50 years. His hummor touched a lot of people. That was his gift to us all. There are no words that can describe how much I will miss Don. He was more than friend, he was my brother. My heart goes out to Wendy his daughter and the rest of Don's family. He is up there now making the Angels laugh. God Bless you my brother R.I.P.


There has been a huge outpouring of love from many for Don and his family - what an impact he made and what a legacy he left! Here are just a very few of the many, many Facebook comments...

"When we were kids Don was a fun guy. I will always remember that and I hope his family realize how much enjoyment he gave us."
Pete Beauregard

"Condolences to Don's family and to all his friends as well. Don was a talented man and I hold many great memories of playing football with him in junior high school, making skateboards from of 2x4's and skates and growing up with him as a role model for me....."
Guy Gingell

"Don has been a remarkable source of laughter and encouragement for those around him!"
Kent Barcus

"My deepest condolences to Don's family and friends! My heart is so heavy as we have lost one of our own! May God comfort you during this very difficult time! Don, you will be missed, but never forgotten!"
Betty Wareham Worland

"We have lost a great Bulldog. I believe that all who knew him would share my sentiments. Goodbye, Don; may you rest in peace, Good Man."
Bob Bauman

"He was a great teammate and a friend to all who knew him. My prayers and thoughts to his family."
Harold Maxham

"When I was 12 I joined the Boy Scouts. Most of the guys were older and wanted little to do with a 12 year old. Don always went out of his way to include me and be nice to me. I will always remember him for that."
David Hourigan

"How sad. I have fond remembrances of playing football with Don my first year in High School. One of the nicest guys on the football team."
Jerry McWilliams

"I was so sorry to hear about Don. God healed him and it was his will Don go to Heaven. I know all of us who prayed for his healing wished for a different outcome. I will keep praying for Don's family that God give them peace and understanding!"
Chuck Blais

"We go back a long way. Don was always such a Breath of Fresh Air. His sense of humor was always with him and made us all laugh.....often. I was so looking to seeing him at our 50th Renion. RIP Don."
Jack Kimmins


Cards can be sent to  Don's daughter, Wendy:

Wendy Bell
16339 Lassen St.
North Hills, CA 91343


Sean Cyphers posted the following today...

A Memorial service for Don Melton is going to be held at:

17522 Chatsworth St.
Granada Hills, Ca. 91344

Services to begin at 2pm on Sunday the 16th of February, 2104. It's a pretty big place, room for aprox. 250 people. And knowing the many people that Don knew there may be just that many, and all are welcome. Refreshments ( We're thinking Santoro's ) will be served and booze will be available for purchase for those wishing to partake.

From yesterday's service... from Facebook thanks to Ken and Tina Templeton

FACEBOOK A Celebration of Don Melton's Life
Contributors: Cathy Coyle & Peggy Cyphers

Found this wonderful tribute on Facebook by Alan Hermanson...

Ken Templeton, Don Melton, and me - Santa Barbara - 2008.

Fifty year friendships are hard to come by, but Don was more than that to me. He was Godfather to Shane and Shannon, sang at my daughter's wedding, shared our family holidays and he kept me positive and he kept me dreaming. 

When I see old films of people like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Jackie Gleason on the golf course, that was us. A kinder, funnier, more loving man there never was. We acted, sang, and played as young men, got different careers, met new friends and had families. Yet through it all we never drifted apart. 

Vivid snapshots of special moments keep popping into my mind: Career day in high school and the face he made as he told me he was going to be a contortionist, or the time I took him flying and he thought pushing us into a wing-ripping dive would be just the thing to liven things up. Death defying drives through the Hollywood Hills in Ken's old car. 

Tom Selleck's mother once told me he'd done the same with his friends just a year or two before. There was that apartment Don shared with Dave Messinger (Felix and Oscar) and the one he shared with me and my then very pregnant wife. That's what I want to remember and I want to remember all of you, the mutual friends like John Eimen, Ken, Frank Doubleday, Peter, Ed, Barbara and everyone else from our early college days. I miss those days and I remember all of you fondly. 

Don was always positive, always a friend, and he spent countless hours comforting the suffering. Did you know he used to go to nursing homes just to cheer up old people he didn't even know? I'm not talking about a church effort, though he was a religious man. He just went there by himself to cheer people up. How many people do you know who have done things like that? 

Goodbye old friend. I love you and I'll never forget you. 



  1. He held my hand during our Wild Uncle Kenny Rides through the Hollywood Hills.
    He teased us all out of self-consciousness about our teenage angst and frailties.
    He had a crush on me and told me so in a note he slipped me at Bob’s!
    He carried me down Hollywood Blvd, fireman-style, in one of our crazy movies.
    He had a beautiful voice and a wicked sense of humor.
    He protected me, sometimes from myself, with the only truly unconditional love I’ve ever known.
    And, like the Giving Tree he was, he let me run away when things got too heavy, knowing (I hope) that I’d always come back.
    He was simply the strongest and gentlest man I’ve ever known.
    He was our generation’s George Bailey.
    I knew him longer than I knew my own parents.
    And I wanted to know him longer.
    He was the personification of love, patient and kind.
    To honor him, I pledge to try to be more like him.
    I invite you to join me.
    “Unchel” Don, “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.”

  2. Don was a super guy. Talented in a way like no other. Coulda been a star. Come to think of it, he was a all of us.