December 8, 1924 - August 2, 2013
Melvin was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He graduated from Central High School just as the United States was entering WWII. He joined the military as part of the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division where he participated in the Battle of the Bulge and was part of the first liberators of Dachau Concentration Camp on April 29, 1945.
Melvin earned a teaching credential from Wayne State University. His elementary school classrooms integrated children with learning and other disabilities in the mid 1950's. He taught at E.M.U., Lesley, Pacific Oaks, CSUN, Goddard and UWW colleges. As a PhD student at UCLA in the 1970's, Mel and his colleagues developed a theory of Pluralistic Education. Mel helped start some of the first external degree programs with Goddard and Antioch Colleges which let students develop their own educational curricula and gave them credit for their life experiences.
Mel was involved in the humanist psychology movement. He started a religious organization: The Association for the Integration of the Whole Person (AIWP) as a way to promote both his notion of humanism and his desire to expand the goal of lifelong learning. He founded/established the original University Without Walls, Antioch West, Sierra, Summit and University for Integrated Learning, from which he retired.
He was also a committed social justice activist. Mel walked with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, and Washington, D.C., and was with Ceasar Chavez in Modesto, CA. He participated in many anti-Vietnam war rallies and protests which culminated in a 20 day jail stint for blocking the doors at the Oakland Army Induction Center.
Melvin is survived by his 3 children: Glenn, Mike with Kate Kausch, and Lauren with Wally Brondstatter. His three grandchildren: Jennifer Suhd-Brondstatter, James Aura-Gullick and Jordan Aura Gullick. His Sister, Flora Hommel and her daughter Claudia. He is preceded in death by his former wife, Sunny (Yetta) Varner nee. Weinman.
A Celebration of Life is planned for Sunday, September 29, 1:00 PM at PS1, 1225 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90404. If you would like to attend reply to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melvin's web site is: www.enduringmemories.com/MelvinSuhd
In lieu of flowers you may make donations to AIWP or Venice Community Housing.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 18, 2013