Melvin was born on January 7, 1937 in Montgomery, Alabama to the late Carrie Phillips and Nathaniel Williams. Melvin passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at Jewish Hospital (Cincinnati) with his youngest son Darryl by his side. Melvin accepted Christ at an early age and served the Lord faithfully until his death.
Melvin was one of eight children. He attended public school in Montgomery Alabama and relocated to Hamilton, Ohio at the age of seventeen to live with his maternal aunt, the late Bernice Adams and to escape the oppressive conditions that limited opportunities for advancement.
Melvin married the love of his life, Dorothy Williams on February 28, 1960 in Sandusky, Ohio. The Lord blessed Melvin and Dorothy to have been married for nearly 59 years. To their union were three sons; Conrad, Marvin and Darryl Williams. From a previous marriage Melvin was the father of Ladeana and Melvin F. Williams.
Melvin and Dorothy joined Gaines United Methodist Church in 1970. As a long time and faithful member of Gaines, Melvin served in various ministries within the church. He was a member of the Men’s choir and Melvin was elected the first African American District President of the United Methodist Men (Ohio River District).
Melvin had an incredible work ethic as a teenager and commitment to work that lasted his entire life. As a teenager living in Hamilton, Melvin secured a job at a drug store working as a stock boy. Because of determination, discipline and hard work during his retail career, Melvin worked his way from the position of stock boy to Store Manager.
Melvin worked for several drug companies as a result of corporate acquisitions. He was the first African American to be employed by the Super X Pharmacy; a division of the Kroger Company, in 1966. He worked at the same store in the capacity as Store Manager that was later named CVS Pharmacy, in Walnut Hills for forty years. Melvin retired from CVS Drugs in Walnut Hills in 2005.
In his role as store manager, Melvin was a “master merchant” in product placement and promotions within his stores. He was known for working with venders in creating instore displays and promotions that resulted in incremental sales and revenue.
Due to his passion and commitment to the Walnut Hills community, while working as manager of Super X, Melvin was affectionally known by community residents as “The Mayor of Pebbles Corner.” Others in the business community of Walnut Hills also referred to Melvin as “The Good Merchant of Peebles’ Corner.”
During his work career, Melvin counseled young customers who made bad decisions in his store. Because he was a man of grace and faith, rather than turn them over to the authorities for shoplifting. Melvin would provide them with constructive critique and encouragement. Many have grown up to be teachers, community leaders, police officers, and are making a positive contribution to their neighborhoods and communities.
At one time Melvin served as the President of the Walnut Hills Business Association. Melvin was an outspoken Advocate for Africian Americans in the Walnut Hills community that often put him at odds with the powers to be. As a store manager working in a Black community, Melvin was adamant that merchandise bought and used by African Americans should be prominently promoted and advertised by black business in the black community, supported by corporate companies whose products were sold in African American communities.
In his community outreach involvement, Melvin was a member of the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation. While a member of the organization, the group was successful in remodeling an historic apartment building for retired and elderly members of the community. The organization recognized Melvin’s contribution when they presented him with a leadership award in 1991. In addition to the numerous rewards and recognition that Melvin received throughout his life, he received the prestigious Glorifying The Lion Award in 2014 from the Urban League of Southwestern Ohio. For his outstanding service to the Cincinnati community, Melvin received a Proclamation from the City of Cincinnati on June 22, 2005.
Melvin was an accomplished singer who worked as a balladeer in shows with African American musicians when nightclubs thrived in Newport, KY. He performed in shows with Sam Cooke, Dinah Washington and Little Richard. He was the lead singer of a local jazz assemble known as “The Wannabees.”
Melvin was preceded in death by his parents, Nathaniel Williams and Carrie Phillips, son Conrad Williams, special aunt, Bernice Adams, a sister, Ardenia Perpall and brothers John Lee Williams and Nathaniel Williams.
Melvin leaves to cherish his profound memories: his wife of 59 years, Dorothy Williams; four children, Ladeana Williams, Reverend Dr. Melvin F. Williams, Marvin Williams(Corey), and Daryl Williams; (all in Cincinnati metro area), Four grandchildren, Deon Michael Simpson, Samantha Lewis, Anitra Weathers, Alisha Williams, one great granddaughter Talia Michelle Simpson; Sisters Barbara Jones, Dorothy Spellman Both of Willingboro, New Jersey; Catherine Williams, Levittown, Pennsylvania; Brothers, Earl Williams, Willingboro New Jersey and Fred Williams of Los Angeles, California and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
Melvin enjoyed spending time with family, singing, discussing and debating political issues. He was an adoring and was devoted husband, a determined and dutiful dad, a proud grandfather, a supportive sibling and an unconventional uncle. Most importantly, Melvin was determined to serve the Lord, both in and outside of the church. He touched the lives of many through singing and serving, as he labored in Christian love to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Melvin strived, he sang, he served, he sacrificed and he succeeded. And now he has joined God’s glorious choir as he forever sings to the glory of God. Well Done Melvin, Well Done!