Roanoke College

Roanoke loses longtime trustee Bruce Melchor '72

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  • Roanoke loses longtime trustee Bruce Melchor '72

  • 10/16/13
  • This article was featured in the Roanoke Magazine, Issue 2, 2013. The full issue can be seen here.

    Bruce E. Melchor III, the longest-serving member of the current Roanoke College Board of Trustees, died suddenly on Oct. 6. in Norfolk, Va. He was 64. Melchor was president of Boyd-Bluford, a Norfolk-based wholesale distributorship, for more than 30 years.

    Melchor, who possessed an enthusiastic spirit for service, joined the College's Board of Trustees only two years after graduating from Roanoke with a bachelor's of business administration in 1972. He went on to earn a master's of business administration from the College of William & Mary.

    Melchor was a standout leader as a student and as a trustee. He was president of the student body, business manager of the yearbook, and he received the John Bushnell Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership and loyalty to the College. He was a member of Pi Kappa Phi.

    "He was a person with passion," Roanoke President Michael Maxey said at the memorial service for Melchor. "He was a person of good will and he was a person who nurtured and treasured relationships."

    When he was named at Sesquicentennial Distinguished Alumnus at Roanoke, he said, "other than family, going to Roanoke College was the best thing that ever happened to me. I met people and maintained those friendships. Roanoke College armed me with a degree and an attitude-a friendly and good one. I've been ambitious. My experience at Roanoke strengthened the drive."

    "Bruce Melchor appreciated history and beauty," Maxey said. "At Roanoke, he took great interest in the arts, promoting our permanent collection of art, encouraging the proper restoration, cataloguing and display. He also had a strong interest in history, whether it was about Norfolk, William & Mary, Roanoke or the Commonwealth of Virginia. He loved and respected the significance of heritage."

    As a member of the Board of Trustees, he served on the institutional advancement committee and he was a big supporter of the arts, both at Roanoke and in the community at large. Melchor was a Sustaining Associate and a charter member of Roanoke's Society of 1842.

    Melchor was an accomplished writer and contributed to the Roanoke College Magazine on several occasions. One of his stories was about his love of his alma mater but it could also be considered a story about how he approached life. In the article, he wrote: "Finally, there is joy in this passion ... joy that comes from friendships, joy that is derived from memories, joy that comes from hard work. It is pride in our accomplishments. The passion burns and the flame will be hot and will burn brightly." Such was the life of Bruce Melchor. His commitment to the friendships formed at Roanoke lasted his entire life.

    He served as a member of the Tidewater Community College Board for 30 years and became the first president of the Tidewater Community College Educational Foundation, guiding the community college to a successful $1 million campaign.

    Melchor served as president of the Lochhaven Civic League and was a member of the Virginia Zoo Board and the Cosmopolitan Club. He participated in several Norfolk City Council committees and was an active member of the church council at First Lutheran Church in Norfolk.

    Melchor is survived by his parents, Bruce E. Melchor Jr. and Patricia Boyd Melchor; wife, Elizabeth Fife Melchor; two children, son Douglas Alyn Melchor and daughter Margaret Elizabeth Melchor; father-in-law Alyn F. Fife; brother R. Boyd Melchor; sisters Lee M. Turlington and Anne M. Bremus; and several uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews.

    The obituary from his family is posted on the Virginian Pilot website. The Melchor family suggests donations to Roanoke College in lieu of flowers. 

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  • gereaux@roanoke.edu