Peter Melnik, 88, of Wilmington, DE, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2019, in his home after a lengthy illness with his wife, Elizabeth, by his side.
Peter was truly a product of the American Dream. His parents, John and Anastasia Melnik, emigrated from Eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century and labored in the tanneries and factories in Peabody, Massachusetts to put their son through college. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. His work history included brief stints with DuPont, Shell, and American Cyanamid. Most of his career, however, was spent at Hercules, Inc., where he developed an expertise in the manufacture of polypropylene resins.
In addition to his degree from MIT, Peter received two Masters of Divinity degrees, one from St. Vladimirs Orthodox Seminary in 1959 and a second from Harvard University in 1962 where he was a student of Fr. Georges Florovsky, of blessed memory. These degrees served him well as he became a national lay leader in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). He is a past president of the Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs (FROC) and served as Editor in Chief of the FROC Journal, contributing influential articles on Orthodoxy in America. He was a gifted writer and speaker and used those skills to advocate for the education and participation of the laity in the life of the Church. As his work with Hercules brought him and his family to various cities, Peter accepted many leadership positions in the parishes where he was a member. His family became used to waiting for him following worship services while he attended to church matters.
Although Peters life revolved around the Church and family, he also contributed time to other community organizations, including volunteering with his sons Boy Scout troops, coaching Little League, and teaching at The University of Delawares Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
Peter leaves behind his wife of 63 years, Elizabeth (Kuchta), and their three children: Philip, of Voorheesville, NY (Kit Yezzi), Alexandra of Carlisle, PA (Paul Makosky), and Vladimir of Wilmington, DE (Susan Melnik). He also leaves four beautiful grandchildren, who love their Dida: Herman, Xenia, Juliana, and John.
He now joins in rest his parents, John and Anastasia Melnik, and siblings, Anna, John, Mary, Anthony, Harry, and Sophia.
A viewing will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 am on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church, 2300 West Huntington Drive, Wilmington, DE, followed by the Divine Liturgy and Funeral Service at 9:30 am. A mercy meal will follow the services at St. Michael.
Burial will be in St. Mary Orthodox Church Cemetery, Chambersburg, PA on Monday, May 20, 2019 at 11:00 am.
Memorial contributions can be made in lieu of flowers to St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church or Delaware Hospice (16 Polly Drummond Center, 2nd Floor, Newark, DE 19711), which provided essential support in the last leg of Peters earthly journey.