Juanita D. Melford of Buffalo, who worked her way up through the ranks of the Erie County Social Services Department to become assistant deputy commissioner, died Tuesday in Millard Fillmore Hospital. She was 82.
Mrs. Melford, who was born and raised in Buffalo, graduated from the University of Buffalo with a degree in sociology and anthropology. She began her career with what was then called the Welfare Department in 1950.
She started as a caseworker, and was promoted to supervisor, district supervisor and finally assistant deputy commissioner. She represented the department on numerous boards in the community.
In 1953, she married Dr. Ryland Melford, believed to be the first African-American chiropractor in Buffalo. They were married 49 years. Dr. Melford died in 2003.
A talented musician, Mrs. Melford played the organ for more than a half-century in a number of local churches. She played duplicate bridge, was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Buffalo chapter of Links and the Buffalo chapter of Girlfriends.
She is survived by a son, Ryland E. II.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 10 in Lincoln United Methodist Church, 641 Masten Ave.