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Lt. Col. Paul F. MelcherApril 8, 1933 ~ August 8, 2017 (age 84)
On August 8, 2017 LtCol Paul F. Melcher (ret) passed away at Palmetto Heart hospital due to complications from surgery.
Paul was a consummate husband, father and Papa that everyone adored and a priceless friend. He was one of those rare individuals that truly made the world a better place. This man knew how to touch the heart, teach anything and inspired others to be their best.
After college, Paul became a commissioned officer in the Navy and was part of the Navy’s first all-jet pilot class. He left the Navy after three-years to fly for the Marine Corps. Paul was a Marines Marine who exemplified the Marine Corps motto Semper Fidelis. All his life he remained faithful to God, his country, and his family. Paul flew combat missions during the Korean war and two combat tours in Vietnam. While in Vietnam he was recognized both for humanitarian work and for heroism in combat and was awarded two Bronze Starz with Valor. After being the youngest Marine ever selected for Colonel, Paul chose to retire in 1974 to spend time with his family.
After the Corps, Paul moved to Columbus, NE to work as an engineer with his brother Maurice. Four years later, Paul moved to South Carolina and began a management position with Michelin Tire Corporation, where he remained for 19 years, until his retirement.
Paul was a man devoted to his family. He loved Nebraska football, computers and gadgets. Mr. Melcher was a creative problem solver; firm, fair and deeply rooted in his faith. He and Betty have been parishioners of Corpus Christi Catholic Church for 35 years. He lived his life in such a way that honored Jesus and exemplified his Christianity.
Paul is survived by his loving, devoted wife of 59 years, Betty Melcher of Lexington; five children: Melody Podraza (Ken) of Surfside Beach, SC; Paul II (Sherry) of Colorado Springs, CO; Greg of Guntersville, AL; Shawn (Wendy) of Ashburn, VA, and Angela Hailey (John) of Elon, NC. Ten grandchildren: Adam Podraza (Sarah); Amy Podraza; Arielle Melcher; Alexandra (Vincent) Fontes; Samuel Melcher; Jacob Melcher; Leah Melcher, Ayden Hailey, Cayleb Hailey and Tyler Cretelle; two great grandchildren Zachary and Riley Podraza; and sisters Joyce Risor, and Sue Vavak.. He is preceded by his father Arnold, mother Sylvia, brothers, Maurice, Jerry, Ron, and David, and his sisters Janet.
A Mass celebrating the life of Paul will be held on Friday, August 11, at 11:30 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Lexington, SC. Following the Mass, a reception will be held at the church to receive visitors and share stories. At a later date, soon to be determined, Paul will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. In lieu of flowers, a GoFundMe account has been established to defray the cost of his wife's living expenses. If you would like to donate, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/memorial-for-ltcol-paul-melcher.