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James Radcliffe Melvin

Obituary for James Radcliffe Melvin

December 6, 1942 - October 31, 2017
Elizabethtown, North Carolina | Age 74


James Melvin was born in Whiteville, N.C. on Dec 6, 1942. He is predeceased by his parents Percy Melvin and Eunice Melvin. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Becky Melvin; sons Jason Melvin and his wife Lara and two daughters Sadie Jaymes and Austin Grace of Baltimore, MD, and Chet Melvin and his wife Fran of Raleigh, NC; and his sister in law JoAnn Camp and her husband Sam, of Belmont, NC.

He was a lifelong resident of Bladen County, N.C., and attended Elizabethtown High School and Wingate Junior College. He received his B.A. Degree from Wake Forest University, and his Juris Doctor in Law from Wake Forest Law School in 1966. He began practicing law in Elizabethtown in 1969, following an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army after three years of military service. He was elected to the White Lake Town Commission that same year.

James was active in civic affairs during his professional years, serving as president of the Elizabethtown Rotary Club, the Bladen County Shrine Club, The Elizabethtown Jaycees, and the Elizabethtown-White Lake Chamber of Commerce. He was instrumental in the creation of the White Lake Water Festival, and served as the chairman of the Water Festival for a number of years. He was the recipient of the Winfred B Johnson Award for outstanding community service presented by the Elizabethtown Jaycees, the Outstanding Chamber of Commerce member, and the Outstanding Jaycees member. He served as a member of the Elizabethtown Rescue Squad for seven years, and also as legal counsel. James was a member of the Elizabethtown Baptist Church, where he served as Chairman of the Deacon Board and as a Sunday school teacher.

He was District Chairman of the Lakes District, Boy Scouts of America and served as a member of the Executive Board of the Cape Fear Council, Boy Scouts of America. Melvin received the Silver Beaver Award from the Cape Fear Council for outstanding service to Boy Scouting. He is the proud father of two Eagle Scouts.
During his professional career, Melvin was a member of the Bladen County Bar Association, the Thirteenth Judicial District Bar Association, the North Carolina Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the American Academy of Trial Lawyers. He practiced law in Elizabethtown from 1969 until 1992, at which he was forced to retire his practice due to the onset of a physical disability.

Being born and raised at White Lake, James had lake water flowing in his veins. He had a deep love and respect for the lake and the surrounding Colly. This was his temple and those woods were more than sacrosanct to him. His perfect day would've consisted of an early morning ski around the lake, a trek through the woods of Colly with his kids and grandkids, followed by a full tilt pickin' session out on the end of the pier. He was more than proud to have brought Bluegrass to White Lake in the form of Mel-Fest in 1999. Some of his best days were spent hearing that live music roll out over the trees, pickin' in the parking lots, and working to build that festival into what it became.

A visitation will be planned at 6:00 pm on Thursday, Nov 2nd at Elizabethtown Baptist Church, and the funeral service is planned for Friday, Nov 3rd, at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Elizabethtown Baptist Church Vision Fund.

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3131 Martin Luther King Drive
PO Box 3150
Elizabethtown, NC 28337
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