• Date Of Death: June 19, 2023
  • State: Rhode Island

Donald Frederick Mellor 102, passed away in the company of his children on June 19, 2023 at his home in Cranston. Very much alive, however, is Don’s legacy of good character, humility, and service. Mr. Mellor was born in Providence on February 22, 1921. When he was 5, his parents, Friend and Lydia (Dolby) Mellor moved Don and his sister Louise (later Falciglia) to Essex Street in Cranston. His neighbor and future wife Helen (Phillips) remembered him as “that cute boy who was too busy playing sports to notice me.” * Don was indeed an excellent and passionate athlete, playing for the Rhode Island Scarlets and the Boston Olympics hockey teams, one step below the big leagues. His softball team, the Cranston Trojans, earned a spot in the Men’s Major Fast Pitch Nationals in Detroit. But the Depression weighed heavily on the Mellor family, and Don would have to invest more of his time simply helping the family get by. Thus, he developed a work ethic that defined his life and profoundly influenced his children. In fact, his experience as a paper boy was such that he made sure his kids learned those same lessons. For more than a generation, the Chestnut Avenue route was in the hands of a Mellor child. Don enlisted in the US Navy in 1943, deploying on the destroyer USS Hopewell. He served mainly in fire control, working to aim the big guns to target enemy positions in the military’s island-hopping campaign in the South Pacific. All the while, Don kept in regular letter-writing contact with his parents and especially his “girl,” Helen, whom he had finally noticed when they both worked at Builders Iron Foundry just before the war. After only 9 dates, Don and Helen married in the Phillips back yard. For all of his life, Don valued the importance of being part of a team. This belief led him to become a founding father of CLCF (Cranston’s League for Cranston’s Future). He coached peewee hockey and Little League baseball with a sense of fairness that left a lasting impression on his players and even his own children. Two of his sons recall with gratitude the times when their dad chose not to pick them for his team. No offense taken – that’s the way to coach, and those are the principles with which to live one’s life. It was Helen’s unbridled sense of adventure (along with Don’s optimistic compliance) that inspired them to bring their growing family on travel adventures, mostly to the American West and often living out of a tent. It’s notable, too, that with the kids all grown, Don and Helen would continue to explore, even traveling the early dirt Alaska Highway and sleeping in the back of their pickup truck in their 70s!
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