W. Robert Melville, Jr.
Bob Melville, a former member of the Swain (NY) Ski Patrol died suddenly on September 8, 2004 of a heart attack at his home in Scottsville, NY. He was 81 years old.
Bob joined the Swain Ski Patrol in 1964 and became a senior patroller after passing his Ski & Toboggan test during the Blizzard of 1966 that left all the senior candidates and examiners stranded in the storm and unable to travel home for two days. After many years of quiet and steady leadership by example, he was elected to serve as Patrol Director at Swain from 1985 –1987. Bob retired from patrolling in 1987 and became a Life Member of the NSP Alumni Association. His quiet, competent demeanor earned him the respect of all who had contact with him. Bob continued to maintain a close relationship with patrollers after retirement through his participation in alumni events. His son, John, continues his patrolling legacy as a senior patroller at Bristol Mountain.
Bob was born, raised, and educated in Buffalo, NY and served in the Army Corps of Engineers in
Europe during WWII. After the war, he received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and then was employed for 40 years by Bausch and Lomb Optical Company in Rochester, NY, where he arose through the organization to retire as a Vice President of the company. For many years he traveled throughout Europe managing B & L’s overseas manufacturing operations.
Bob was an avid skier and sailor, sports which he shared with his wife, Jean, their four children, and their grandchildren. Bob and Jean skied the U.S., Canada, and Europe extensively over the years and during the years that Bob was patrolling, Jean was a ski instructor. From their summer home on Tapawingo Island in Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada they sailed all of the Great Lakes for many years, completing many intrepid trips together through the Sault St. Marie from Lake Huron to Lake Superior and back. Bob was also skilled at woodworking as a hobby and he filled the homes of family and friends with beautiful furniture crafted in his shop. He also hand built the canoes his family used to explore the waterways of Parry Sound, Ontario.
Bob is survived by his wife Jean, daughter Ann, sons Robert III, John, and James, and nine grandchildren. Bob was a friend and colleague of many patrollers throughout his years on the slopes and will be missed by all who knew him.
Harry Stoneham, and Nicholas Schiavetti, Swain Ski Patrol