“The music stops, and yet it echoes on in sweet refrains…for every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.” (Anonymous)
On May 5, a prominent community member suddenly passed away. Dennis Melton in his 73 years on earth embraced family, friends and community and is leaving a legacy of a life well-lived.
As a small boy with a twin brother, he seized the opportunity to be creative through music and pursued many music venues as his first outreach to the world. He followed his heart and passion within the context of bands, in which his twin brother, Dale also was a member. The principle of “coming from the heart” and “working together in peace and harmony” became his life’s theme song.
As time passed, Dennis also understood the value of establishing roots; getting married, having a son, Michael, and pursuing higher education to become an architect. As he looked to settle down and start his architectural profession, he found the town of Kennett Square.
Since 1992, Dennis consciously made the commitment to create inspiring places in Kennett Square where people live, work and play; he became an integral contributing member of the community.
The story is now to be told that Dennis Melton made a difference in Kennett through his architectural designs, his music, his good will and his commitment to Bridging the Community vision to make “Kennett Square: Everyday a better place to grow up and grow old.”
Recently, there was a memorial service held in Dennis’s honor. A large crowd of Southern Chester County residents attended to reflect and recall the memories of family, friend and community relationships that each shared with this gentleman. It is clear that beyond the physical contributions Dennis made, his character is the treasure that most hold dear.
“Never raised his voice;” “committed to equality and inclusivity;” “persevering;” “visionary;” “kind;” “joyful;” “leader through consensus;” “mentor” and the list goes on with the comments that were made at the memorial service. These are the shining qualities that Dennis expressed as he went about his work and leadership in our town of Kennett Square’ yes, a life well-lived!
One of the surprises at the memorial service was learning that the Kennett Library & Resource Center Board voted to name the outdoor terrace of the new library the Dennis Melton Terrace. Dennis served as the current Architect of Record for the library and was an outspoken advocate for keeping the library in the Borough of Kennett Square. The Kennett Library web site has more information about how to make a donation in Dennis’s honor.
On a personal note, Dennis was a loved friend, as well as a community partner. We shared a love for music and together gave birth to the Kennett Community choir for the first MLK Breakfast. This group is now under the talented directorship of Leon Spencer and by the way, we are always looking for community members to join. The choir sang at the memorial service including a song that Dennis wrote about having a dream for “peace and harmony.”
Christmas caroling with Dennis and Leon Spencer throughout the streets of Kennett for over 20 years is one of the town’s most joyful events! It was especially touching when Donna Melton, Dennis’s wife for 37 years, told the choir that she plans to regularly participate in the caroling, honoring Dennis’s memory. We told her she will need to wear a long red scarf, Dennis’s classic hat, and of course elevator shoes to reach his height!
Additional good news is that there will be a celebration of Dennis Melton’s life and music at the Anson B Nixon park on Sunday, September 19, 2021 from 2pm to 5pm. Bands from Dennis’s past will be showing up and as Dennis would say, “Every community member is welcome.”