John Thomas Melton was born on May 24, 1931 in Troup, Texas to Rayford and Lorene Rucker Melton. He departed this life on Monday, March 5.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father, brother James Melton and sisters Louise Umland and Helen Underwood.

An informal Memorial will be held at 2:00 pm Sat, March 10 at Winfree Baptist Church. Relatives and friends are also invited to attend the Celebration of Tommy’s life at the Orange Boating Club, at 6:00 pm that evening.

Survivors include his wife Bettye Melton of Orange; daughters Linda Melton of Lumberton, Kathy Melton of Deer Park, and Sandy Melton of Waimanalo, HI; grandchildren Athena Melton of San Marcos and Kai Melton-Kitigawa of Waimanalo; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and a large loving extended family.

Called Honey, Daddy, Grandpa, Tom, Tommy or John, he will be greatly missed by everyone who knew, loved and respected him.

Tom graduated from Troup High School in 1949, joined the Navy and was honorably discharged in 1953 after service during the Korean War. He went to work at the Union Carbide plant in Victoria, where he met and in Nov. 1956, married the love of his life, Bettye Lee Davis.

They moved to Orange when he was hired at the newly opened Firestone Plant, where he started as an operator and retired from a Supervisory position in 1983. Tom served on the Firestone Credit Union Board of Directors for twenty years.

He later earned his Broker’s License, and then worked for the US Post Office as a rural mail carrier until retirement in 2001. Tommy was an ace bridge and poker player and was also a numbers whiz, helping and advising his family and others on financial matters.

John/Tommy never met a stranger, and was loved by all who knew him. In 1980 when he, Bettye, Sandy and Doug Winfrey were lost in a boat in the bayou for three days, his many Firestone, Boat Club, Credit Union, and other friends put their lives on hold to search for him.

He was considered “Lucky”, and won many Casino and other prizes, even a Wheel of Fortune trip to Hawaii and $50,000. He was a generous tipper and always shared his winnings with grateful family and friends.

Tommy was a good friend to all. He will be especially remembered, loved and appreciated for his kind, giving nature and loving spirit. He was a wonderful gardener, sharing his roses and veggies with friends and neighbors, and cooking for family and guests.

His wife, daughters, and grandchildren were blessed with the most wonderful husband, father, and grandfather in the world and never once doubted his love for them.

If you are moved to remember Tom in some way, we know he would be pleased if you would consider making an extra donation to your favorite charity.