“Elder Gerald E. Melchin of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 107
The turning point in Gerald E. Melchin’s spiritual life was a special priesthood blessing, which led him to promise to serve the Lord in any way he could. “I had returned from my mission, was married, and the success of my auto transport business was being threatened,” Elder Melchin explains, “yet my patriarchal blessing gave me complete confidence that the Lord would protect me if I would put the Lord’s work first and tithe fully. So I continued to serve as a stake missionary, able to sleep well without fearing for my business.” His unflinching devotion to the Lord has continued since, in every aspect of his life.
Gerald Elden Melchin was born to Arthur and Rosetta Melchin on 14 May 1921. He grew up in Raymond, Alberta, where he was living when called to serve a full-time mission.
Missionary work has been an important part of Elder Melchin’s life. In fact, Gerald Melchin and Evelyn Knowles first met while they were missionaries in the East Canada Mission. “My period of service in the mission ended before Evelyn’s,” recalls Elder Melchin, “so, since the war was still on in 1944, I entered the Royal Canadian Air Force, becoming a pilot officer shortly before the end of World War II. Evelyn and I continued writing each other.”
Once he was discharged, Brother Melchin was eager to visit the Knowles family in Ogden, Utah, to ask for Evelyn’s hand in marriage. Her parents had already been impressed with Gerald because of a letter from the mission president’s wife, saying, “I would willingly line up my daughters, and Gerald Melchin could take his pick of them.”
With such endorsement, it didn’t take long to arrange a wedding in the Logan Temple. Looking back on their years together, Sister Melchin says, “My husband is the kindest man I know.”
After thirteen years, they left Raymond for Calgary, where Brother Melchin remembers the great challenge—which now seems more humorous than difficult—of being called by stake president N. Eldon Tanner to be the stake dance director. Elder Melchin recalls: “I really did not want to do it. I didn’t dance—didn’t like to dance. But I had promised the Lord that I would do what he asked.” President Tanner said later that he knew just what kind of man Gerald Melchin was when he accepted that call.
Calgary was also where Elder Melchin served as bishop and later as stake president, Sister Melchin served in the Young Women organization and as ward and then stake Relief Society president. She also shared her rich soprano voice by singing solos and directing choirs.
When Gerald was called to preside over the California Arcadia Mission in 1972, he and Evelyn sold the business they owned with his brother Howard, which had become the largest auto transport business in western Canada.
Four years ago, Brother Melchin was called to be a Regional Representative.
Well acquainted with service in the Church, the Melchins have now accepted a full-time call that requires leaving their seven children and twenty-six grandchildren. “Leaving them is the greatest sacrifice,” they agree. Missing an important part of the development and growth of grandchildren and the events of their young lives requires devotion to the gospel and an eternal perspective of family relations. “We have faith that the Lord will be with them,” Elder Melchin adds.
President N. Eldon Tanner’s words come to mind again, only this time applied to both Elder and Sister Melchin: one can easily see what kind of people would accept such a call.