Melvin Rebic was born on March 27, 1925 in Koppel, Pennsylvania, to Sam and Violet Rebic. He attended public schools in South Park Buffalo and Farnham, New York before enlisting in the Navy in 1943. He served as radar man second class aboard two ships, the USS Kearny and the USS Broadbill, in the European Theatre, and was honorably discharged after WWII in 1946.
Before his departure, he met his future wife of 67 years, Beatrice Smith, who worked at the dairy across the street from the bus stop near his school. Soon after he returned they married. Melvin soon found employment at the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation as a lineman and went on to work for the next 38 years in various departments of the company, now known as National Grid. After his retirement, he found great pleasure in serving as president of the organization’s pension club, a post he held until his death. He was also president of the Northern Chautauqua Radio Association. In 1946, he married his beloved Beatrice. They had a son, Ronald, who died in infancy. Five years later, their son Donald was born; he is now a prominent pianist and musical director of Broadway and cabaret in New York City. Melvin was known for his zest for life. At 50 he got his pilot’s license, bought an airplane and with Bea traveled the country. After he retired, he sold his plane and joined the Civil Air Patrol, attaining the rank of major. A brilliant craftsman, he remained in the house he designed and built in Fredonia, complete with indoor swimming pool, for the remainder of his years. At 80 he became interested in sailing and eventually bought two sailboats and joined the Dunkirk Yacht Club. Melvin would have been 89 on his birthday; he died unexpectedly of a heart attack in his home on March 9. He is survived by his wife and son; daughter-in-law Christine Reisner-Rebic; his niece, Janet Milliken and nephews Robert and Ronald Carlson.
The memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 16, at 2 p.m. at the Fantauzzi Funeral Home, 82 East Main Street in Fredonia. Fr. Charles Zadora will officiate and friends are invited to attend. The family suggests donations in Melvin’s memory be made to the Northern Chautauqua Canine Rescue, 7540 North Gale St., Westfield, NY 14787 or the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry (specify Friendly Kitchen), 127 Central Ave., Dunkirk, NY 14048.