Richard Cavaler indicated Melvin passed away in an automobile accident in the Negev Desert, Israel with 2 others. May he RIP
Melvin lived down the block from me and we played together sometimes in elementary school. Unfortunately, Melvin (his family called him Mendy) had curvature of the spine and spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals because of surgeries and then had to wear those awful body casts, which kept him out of school. I remember it was either kindergarten or first grade the class walked to his house on Greenlawn to deliver cards we had made for him. In one of life's horrible ironies, Mendy was hit by a car when he was crossing the street and died instantly. He suffered a great deal during his short life. I hope he found peace.
Mel was a kind and gentle soul, an incredibly intelligent pesron trapped by his body in a society where you are judged so much by your appearance. Melvin befriended me in a history class when I first transferred in to Mumford in 10th grade, and we soon became best of friends. I photgraphed Melvin and his family and I remember his infectious smile to this day. He was most proud of being selected as an alternate for the TV show "Quiz-Em on The Air", a high scool version of the then popular "GE College Bowl". He started college in Israel where he finally found a place where he belonged, a place where he wasn't judged strictly by his appearance. The last photo Mel sent me was a beach picture of himself on top of a human pyramid of Israelis, without a shirt, something he never would have felt comfortable doing here. And he had an even bigger smile than I had ever seen. He had finally found a home, but died tragically in a car accident shortly therafter. In 1983 I visited Melvins grave, surrounded by hundreds of Israelis killed in war, and cried liked a baby. I still miss him.