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Founding trustee Judge Howell W. Melton passes away

December 21, 2015 11:26 AM
Judge Melton
Photo credit: Flagler College Archives

Judge Howell W. Melton, one of Flagler College’s founding trustees, passed away at his home in St. Augustine on Dec. 18 at the age of 92.

Melton was elected to the Flagler College Board of Trustees in April 1971. He served as chairman of the Board from 1998 to 2000 and retired from the Board in May 2011, when he was designated Trustee Emeritus.

"The entire College community is saddened by the passing of Judge Howell Melton," Flagler College President Dr. William T. Abare said. "Judge Melton was a founding trustee at Flagler, and he contributed greatly to the College's success during the 40 years he served on its Board of Trustees. He will be remembered for his love of and devotion to his family; his passion and commitment to his profession; his dedication and loyal support of the College, especially during its formative years; and his engagement with the local community. He will be missed by all who knew him."

Judge Melton was a founding trustee at Flagler and was instrumental in the College's success during the 40 years he served on its Board. He will be remembered for great achievements at the College, throughout the St. Augustine community and within the entire judicial system.”

The respected lawyer devoted more than six decades to private and public sectors as a state and federal judge.  He began his legal career in St. Augustine in 1948, working for Frank D. Upchurch, Sr., in his law firm, which eventually became known as Upchurch, Melton & Upchurch. Melton continued his law practice until 1961, when he left his firm to become a judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit of the State of Florida. During this period, he served as chairman of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges and remained on the state court bench until he was nominated by President Jimmy Carter in early 1977 to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April 1977, beginning his full-time federal service later that month. Judge Melton assumed active senior status on the court in February 1991, where he maintained a workload of handling a more limited number of cases for two more decades before his retirement in 2014.

Melton was also a decorated war veteran with the U.S. Army, having fought in major battles, including World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, Germany’s last major offensive attack. After attaining his law degree in 1948 from the University of Florida, he continued involvement with the Army as part of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps from 1949 to 1953.

For decades, Melton and his wife Catherine have been generous supporters of Flagler's annual fund and the Flagler Fund for Student Financial Aid, and contributed greatly to Proctor Library renovations. In 1997, Melton was awarded the Flagler Medallion, in recognition of his significant contributions to the development of the College.

He is survived by his wife; son, Howell Melton Jr. of Orlando; and daughter, Carol Melton of Washington, D.C. A memorial service will be held in St. Augustine in early 2016, the details of which are forthcoming. Melton’s obituary can be found here.

Topics: General