John H. Melton, O.S.A.

1925 – 2002 (March 13)

John Hugh Melton, son of Andrew Melton and Alice Lonergan, was born in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, on August 26, 1925. He was baptized in Saint Patrick Church, Bay Shore, attended Saint Patrick Parochial School, Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Bay Shore High School. In June 1943, John graduated and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps holding the position of radio waist gunner on a B-25 “Billy Mitchell” bomber. Upon returning from the war he attended Saint Francis Prep, Spring Grove, Pa, as a post graduate, and then entered Villanova University for pre-law studies. It was due to his priest-brother and the Augustinians at Villanova that he chose to become an Augustinian. He entered the novitiate, professed simple vows on September 10, 1949, and solemn vows three years later. In June, 1952, he obtained a B.A. degree in philosophy from Villanova University, and then pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. On June 4, 1955, John was ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

In August, 1956, Father Melton received his first assignment to Monsignor Bonner High School, Drexel Hill, Pa., where he remained for the next thirty-two years. During those years he influenced students in the classroom and, as guidance counselor, directed the academic careers of many young men to colleges and to the religious life. While at Monsignor Bonner, he was coordinator of the annual Philadelphia Archdiocesan Catholic College Night Programs, Director of the Bonner Alumni Association and Moderator of the Mothers’ Club. In July, 1988, Father Melton was assigned to the Saint Augustine community of Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pa., and continued to guide young men toward career choices. His reputation as a kind man with a good sense of humor, continued to grow.

All of Father Melton’s accomplishments at the two high schools carried over to the children of his students. Memorabilia of all kinds held prominent places in his office as signs of his love, generosity, concern and faith in the young students, who eventually left their mark on society. Their success was Father Melton’s reward. He used to say that he “thanked God daily for being able to help all those students with their futures.” Beyond the normal school days Father assisted at convents and parish churches. He was a member of the American Legion, the Marine Corps League, served as chaplain for the Marine Corps Association for over ten years and was an active member of the Board of Trustees of Villanova University. In 1975, Father Melton began a hobby of collecting Nativity scenes. This collection was featured in national and local newspapers.

In January, 1999, due to ill health, Father Melton was transferred to the Health Care Unit at Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Pa, where he died on March 13, 2002. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church. He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshocken, Pa.