February 10, 1921 - May 19, 2020. J. Jack Melhorn, 99, died May 19, 2020, at Larksfield Place Health Care Center, Wichita, KS. Jack was born in York, PA, to Bertus and Phebe Melhorn.


He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Elizabethtown College and Masters in Divinity from Yale University, as well as his Masters and PhD in Sociology from the University of Southern California. Jack shared his education with others, starting as a professor at LaVerne University in California. It was there that he met Mary L. Woody, his wife of 71 years. Jack’s lifelong commitment to community service started on the LaVerne City Council as vice mayor and mayor. The family, now including three children, moved to Kansas where Jack was president of McPherson College. He then completed his “official” teaching career, at the age of 70, at Emporia State University as chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department. In Emporia, during and following his years of teaching, Jack served on the Metropolitan Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and Citizens Review Board for children in the Juvenile Justice Authority. Ordained in the Church of the Brethren, Jack served in several pastor roles including at a small country church in Verdigris, KS. He and Mary attended Emporia Presbyterian Church, Jack singing in the choir beside Mary at the organ. They enjoyed their coffee group on weekdays where, in his own words, “It’s a lot of fun as I’ve always been interested in people having different points of view. Everybody has a chance to talk and give their input.” Jack enjoyed sharing his observations of life and his love for all.


Jack is predeceased by his parents, sister, Esther Holler, and grandson, Aaron Melhorn. Survivors, in addition to his wife, include his sons and daughter, J. Mark (Katherine) Melhorn of Wichita, KS, Linda (Randall) Melhorn Gilbert of Newmarket, Ontario, and Kent (Ginna) Melhorn of Sugar Land, TX; his grandchildren, John (Julie) Melhorn, Hannah Melhorn, Connor Gilbert, Emily Gilbert, Mitchell (Mary Drake) Melhorn, Lexi (Tim) Smelcer, and Madison Melhorn; great-grandchildren, Jacob, Luke and Eliza Melhorn; and other extended family.


Memorial gifts may be made to McPherson College, 1600 E Euclid, McPherson, KS, 67460. Services in care of Downing & Lahey East Mortuary.


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