Zuck, Melvin Albert
August 20, 1921 – February 19, 2022
Melvin Albert (“Mel”) Zuck died unexpectedly and peacefully at Wesley Long Hospital, Greensboro, NC, on Saturday, February 19, 2022. He was admitted to the hospital on February 17 after returning from his weekly bridge group. Through labored breathing he said, with a sense of satisfaction, “I would like to report that I played a pretty good game today.” A centenarian, Mel took great delight in “making it to 100” and celebrating that milestone with family and friends.
Mel was born August 20, 1921, in Erie, Pennsylvania, to Arthur Perry and Harriet Katherine Buseck Zuck. He attended school in Millcreek Township and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BSc in mechanical engineering in 1943. Later that year, Mel married Priscilla Hixson, his high school sweetheart. Mel and Priscilla shared a loving partnership for seventy-three years before she preceded him in death in 2016. They found their spiritual home with the Religious Society of Friends, first joining the Friends Meeting of Austin, TX, in 1958. Throughout his adult life, Mel remained devoted to Quaker faith and practice.
Mel was first employed by the General Motors Diesel Engine Division in Detroit. As a conscientious objector, he performed Civilian Public Service during WW II as a surveyor in Trenton, ND, and later as an orderly in a psychiatric unit at Duke University Medical Center. In 1946, he returned to his family’s business, C.W. Zuck & Sons, in Millcreek Township, PA. This enterprise included a dairy farm and one of the first large greenhouse operations in the United States, where his primary area of responsibility was mechanical systems including water supply and coal-fired steam heating. During this time, Mel was active with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the Erie Council of Churches.
After reorganization of the family business in the early 1950s, Mel joined the AFSC as Peace Education secretary for the Southwest Region where he was fully involved with peace and civil rights initiatives. Mel regularly participated in workshops, marches, and sit-ins in support of peace and desegregation initiatives embodying the philosophy and practice of non-violent direct action.
Later AFSC assignments included serving as director of the Voluntary International Service Assignments program in India, and as Finance and Interpretation secretary for AFSC offices in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Illinois until his retirement in 1987. Mel and Pricilla then served as residence couple of the Honolulu Friends Meeting House until 1989. After leaving Hawaii, they resided in San Antonio, TX, moving to Friends Homes in Greensboro, NC, in 1997. In 1998, Mel was appointed judge for the Guilford County Board of Elections, Friends Homes precinct, continuing through 2021.
Beginning in 1985, Mel held various leadership roles with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), serving on the Governing Board and helping to guide multiple committee initiatives such as planned giving, fundraising, and outreach development. He made a significant impact through his participation in the 1998 – 2005 capital campaign to rebuild the FCNL headquarters, the first LEED certified building in the District of Columbia. Throughout his time with FCNL, he frequently engaged elected officials with his concerns, focusing on capital punishment, Native American, and youth issues. Mel was a fully-engaged force of nature with an impish sense of humor. He was remarkably active, caring, patient, sociable, and charming with a taste for good jokes and bad puns. He had a great zest for life and its celebrations, good food and libations, and the company of his family and many friends. Mel “never met a stranger” and his genuine interest in the lives and well-being of others was unceasing. He was a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity and a love of classical music, literature, movies, science, nature, and travel.
Mel worked with his head and his hands. He was an early adopter of computer technology and spent many hours online keeping up with current events, corresponding with family and friends, researching family genealogy, and investigating various questions du jour. Skilled as an electrician, carpenter, plumber, and renovator, he was always eager to take on a new project or lend a hand, and almost never without the right tool or piece of hardware for the job.
Mel was a loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, sorely missed by his family and members of his cherished extended community of friends. Aloha, Mel, and cheers to a remarkable and memorable life well lived! You leave us all with the gift of bountiful memories.
Melvin Albert Zuck is survived by his daughter, Lucinda Zuck Frost (David) of San Antonio, Texas; his sons, John Zuck (Lesley Armstrong) of Upper LaHave, Nova Scotia, and Timothy Zuck, also of Upper LaHave, Nova Scotia (Robyn Randall Zuck, Midland Ontario); grandchildren Jonathan Frost (Alyssa), Christian Zuck, Anna Zuck Downs (Brian), Bronwyn Zuck (Colin Blair); and great-grandchildren, Owen Downs, Bodi Downs, and Asa Blair-Zuck. Mel is also survived by Shirley Stroud, Greensboro, North Carolina, his angel and loving companion who will forever be a part of his family.
The family extends deep appreciation to the emergency room and step-down intensive care unit staff of Wesley-Long Hospital who provided exemplary care for Mel in his last days. Their support, genuine regard and respect for Mel and his wishes will never be forgotten. The family also wishes to express gratitude for the loving support from the Greensboro Friendship Meeting, and his many friends both within and outside of the Friends Homes community.
Mel’s family is honoring his request to forgo a formal memorial service.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 Second St., NE, Washington, DC 20002. The FCNL is “committed to being good stewards of these funds in honor of our dear Friend Mel.”
Online condolences may be offered at www.forbisanddick.com.
Published by Greensboro News & Record on Mar. 15, 2022.