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George and Darl Melrose, ‘inseparable’ Tonawanda couple

Nov. 8, 1925 – Jan. 27, 2016 Jan. 14, 1929 – Jan. 29, 2016

They met on a blind date in 1948.

A friend of George B. Melrose had been going out with a young woman, and he thought the two of them would make a good couple. So he introduced George to Darl Ann Babcock. Two years later they were married.

“It was a true love story. They were just inseparable,” said their daughter, Dianne Hardy. “Anyone who knew them was not surprised that they died so close together.”

George Melrose died Jan. 27 in the Dosberg Assisted Living Center on the Weinberg Campus in Getzville, where he had been a resident for the past three years. He was 90.

Darl. Melrose died two days later in Rosa Coplon Nursing Home on the Weinberg Campus, where she had lived for the past 10 years since suffering a stroke. She was 87.

“They saw each other every day,” their daughter said. “He would go over and have lunch and dinner with her. He was there every day by her side.”

Mr. Melrose was born Nov. 8, 1925, in Providence, R.I., earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Brown University at the age of 19 and received a master’s degree in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology.

After working for a year as an experimental test engineer for Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, Conn., he joined Bell Aerosystems, where he became director of business development, advanced systems and technology. He retired in 1988.

A leader in matters involving planning and the environment, he was chairman of the Erie County Environment Management Council and founder and chairman of the Town of Tonawanda’s Commission for Conservation of the Environment in 1970.

He oversaw cleanup of radioactive and solid waste sites in the town, a major tree-planting program along major streets, and the installation of gardens on major streets to welcome visitors at the town line.

He was a member of the Town of Tonawanda Planning Board for 35 years and served as chairman from 1985 to 2006. He was a principal contributor to the 2005 Town of Tonawanda Comprehensive Plan.

He represented Erie County on the Governor’s Erie Canal Commission and served on the executive board of the Horizons Waterfront Commission. He also was an arbitrator for FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Mrs. Melrose was born Jan. 14, 1929, in Buffalo. She was a 1946 graduate of Holy Angels Academy and earned a degree in nursing at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Prior to her marriage, she worked as a registered nurse at Buffalo General Hospital. Later she maintained a private practice as a clinical psychologist for many years, retiring in 1987.

She was the founder of the Town of Tonawanda Crime Resistance Executive Board and was its first chairwoman, stepping down due to ill health in 2006.

She built the program to include 11 watch groups and brought in funding for crime prevention programs, such as the Neighborhood Watch trailer, from state and federal grants. The group’s activities were credited with reducing the town’s crime rate by 50 percent.

She helped organize the Deerhurst Neighborhood Watch Group and served as its president for many years. A graduate of Tonawanda’s Citizen Police Academy, she hit a target nine out of 10 times during pistol practice there and displayed it in her front hall. She also was one of the organizers of Tonawanda’s annual Night Out Against Crime, helping to expand it into a community-wide event attracting huge crowds.

In 2006, she was honored as Crime Prevention Practitioner of the Year by the Crime Prevention Association of Western New York.

Together, Mr. and Mrs. Melrose received the Town of Tonawanda Outstanding Citizen Award in 1991.

They were members of the Buffalo Athletic Club, Brookfield Country Club and the Buffalo Yacht Club, which honored Mr. Melrose as Member of the Year in 2000. Mrs. Melrose was a member of the Twentieth Century Club and the Women’s Suburban Club.

They traveled extensively after they retired, visiting five continents, and were avid bowlers and bridge players.

In addition to their daughter, survivors include a son, Mark; five grandchildren and a great-grandson.

A memorial Mass for both will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Shrine Chapel of St. John Neumann, 1085 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda.

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