HULL - James William "Billy" Melton, 83, passed away on Saturday, February 23, 2013.
He was born in Oglethorpe County on May 12, 1929, and lived most of his life in Clarke County. He was the son of the late Gordon and Nettie Bradley Melton. Mr. Melton was preceded in death by two siblings, Betty Huth and Bobby Melton.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Sue O'Kelley Melton; daughters, Teresa Isbell and husband, Leonard Isbell, Watkinsville, and Sandy McCannon and husband, Jerry McCannon, Winterville; sisters, Daisy Bagwell, Bonnie LaCount and Joyce Bonner; brother, Richard Melton; grandchildren, Charlie Isbell, Lindsay (Ian) McClure and Morgan McCannon; great-granddaughter, Ava McClure; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
He loved his family and especially his grandchildren and great-granddaughter and they in turn loved him, calling him "Pop." He was a longtime member of Johnson Drive Baptist Church in Athens and loved his Lord and Church very much. He served as a deacon, and for over 50 years served as an usher. At church, he always had chewing gum to give to the children and thus was known as "the chewing gum man." He always had a smile and gave a warm greeting and a bulletin to all as they entered the church.
He was a painter/carpenter for many years and worked for several years for Kenny Rogers on his farm in Colbert. He loved telling friends and others about working in California for Kenny, and painting Kenny's homes and properties. He also worked many years for Hancock Properties. Mr. Melton never met a stranger, had a kind word for all, and made many friends over the years during his painting profession. He almost always saw people that he knew everywhere he went. Working was something he loved to do, so he didn't retire until the age of 82 due to health reasons.
Funeral services will be Monday, February 25, at 2 p.m., at the chapel of Lord and Stephens, EAST, with the Revs. Jeff Wells and Anthony Watts officiating. Interment will be in Evergreen Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be Charlie Isbell, Kenny Bagwell, David Huth, Ricky Melton, Steve Melton and Mark Benedict.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Johnson Drive Baptist Church of Athens, GA, or Odyssey Healthcare/Hospice of Athens, GA.
The Melton family would like to express their thanks for the staff at Odyssey for their support and kindness during this difficult time.
Lord and Stephens, EAST, Athens, is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com