Robert Melton Jr.

Age 78: Park Heights resident worked at chemical plant until the day he died.

July 04, 2008|By JACQUES KELLY

Robert Melton Jr., who at 78 was the oldest worker at a Hawkins Point chemical plant, died June 26 after suffering a heart attack. The Park Heights resident collapsed near his home as he was returning from the plant.

Born in Ferriday, La., Mr. Melton moved to Baltimore in 1948. He served in the Army in the 1950s and was stationed in Germany, where he constructed communication lines.

He later worked at a gas station and at the Arrow-Crown window-washing business. In 1972, he took a job at Millennium Inorganic Chemicals Co. on Fort Armistead Road in Hawkins Point, which was earlier the Glidden-Durkee division of the SCM Corp.

Mr. Melton declined all offers of retirement and continued to work until his death.

"He held his own," said co-worker Samuel Parr. "He was full of joy. If you were having a bad day, he'd come up to you and make you feel better."

Family members said that Mr. Melton worked 12-hour days on a rotation basis and continued to fill and lift 50-pound bags of pigment onto a conveyor belt.

"He was very well-liked and respected here," said George Lang, Millennium's human resources manager. "He was the oldest worker in the plant. His co-workers were like an extended family to him."

Mr. Melton was nicknamed "Bear" because of his stamina and work ethic. Last year, he received a company award for 35 years of service.

He was animal lover, and enjoyed playing pool and telling jokes.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Christian Life Church, 6605 Liberty Road.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Bernice Morris; four sons, Larry Morris of Lochearn, Steven Melton, Andre Melton and Sean Melton, all of Baltimore; three daughters, Jurethia Hill and Monica Melton, both of Woodlawn, and Priscilla Patterson of Stafford, Va.; 25 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Three sons preceded him in death: an infant, Charles; Willie Melton, in 1991; and Jeffrey Melton, in 2003.

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