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In memoriam: Thomas C. Melo

My father, Thomas C. Melo of Potomac, Md., passed away on Dec. 22 at the age of 94. After graduating from high school in Philadelphia in 1938, he went on to complete stenotype training at the Stenotype Institute of Philadelphia. He landed a job after completing school but was drafted into the army in early 1941. When he reported for basic training in Virginia, he carried along his stenotype machine and was asked to take a court martial. This led to a career in the service that ended in 1964 when he retired as a major from the U.S. Air Force (Office of Special Investigations). He went on to work for a friend who served with him during WWII and ultimately started his own court reporting business.

After 40 years as a court reporter, he retired, caring for his wife Mary Elizabeth Melo. We had a memorial service at our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Potomac, Md., on Dec. 27, and his remains will be interred Arlington National Cemetery in 2014.

My father was in the IG’s office in 1948 when he was asked to transfer to the newly established Office of Special Investigations at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington. He started as a stentotypist working under General Carroll. Shortly afterwards he was asked to interview for a position at the Pentagon. It turned out that the interview was with the special assistant to General Eisenhower. My father was selected to be one of the secretaries to General Eisenhower in his new role of NATO commander in Paris. When General Eisenhower resigned to pursue his presidential bid, my father was assigned to OSI in Wiesbaden Germany. He later went back to Wiesbaden in 1959 for another three year tour, ultimately retiring in 1964.

In an interview he gave to the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress in 2012, my father reflected upon his career. He said, “I had wonderful opportunities. My parents couldn’t afford college … and [I ended up] working for an individual who got to be president of the United States. How many people can say that? It was wonderful; it was a ride that will stay up here until the day I die.” By the way, Lisa DiMonte, RMR, CMRS, of Planet Depos took his oral history for the Veterans History Project in 2012. It provided my family with a perspective on my father’s career, and we are grateful that he left us this remembrance. Sincere thanks to the membership of the NCRA for participating in the Veterans History Project.

He raised three children who all went to college and graduate school. He was a man of intense faith, fiercely committed to his wife and family, was generous to all, and loved his country. He was married to my mother, Mary E. Melo, for sixty-four years. He was my mother’s primary caretaker for the past ten years. He is survived by his wife, sister, four children, and grandchildren.

Thomas C. Melo, Jr.
Silver Spring, Md.