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Justine Bacon Melson

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MELSON, Justine Bacon Justine Bacon Melson, 87, died Friday, (October 27, 2006) at Lawrence General Hospital. Friends and family had been at her bedside since she suffered a stroke on October21. Mrs. Melson was the widow of J. Edward Melson of New Britain. Born in New Britain, Justine was the only surviving child of the late Arthur Whittemore Bacon and Ida Barnes Bacon. Justine's earliest years were spent in the family home at 50 Lexington Avenue which subsequently became the site of the renowned New Britain Museum of American Art. Throughout he life, Mrs. Melson was a devoted patron of the museum. Her paternal grandfather, Col. William Plumb Bacon, as a member of the Fifth New York Cavalry, fought at Gettysburg in the battle for Little Round Top. In 1941, Mrs. Melson graduated from Vassar College with a degree in child development. A high point in her college career was Mrs. Melson's participation in a Sociology class taught by noted anthropologist, Margaret Meade. After graduation, Mrs. Melson was employed as a teacher of pre-primary child developmental classes. During World War II, Mrs. Melson worked with returning veterans at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford as an interviewer and job surveyor. Her husband was employed at Pratt & Whitney where he was involved in the engineering of a number of high technology jet engines. They were married in June, 1945. While she and her husband raised their two children, Lt. Cmdr. Leslie Roach, Navy Ret. (deceased) and Donald Bacon Melson of North Andover, MA. Mrs. Melson participated in a multitude of social and civic organizations. She served as president of the Junior League and the Visiting Nurses Association of New Britain. Mrs. Melson also served on the board of directors of New Britain's United Way, the Children's Museum of New Britain, and the New Britain Nursery School. The New Britain United Fund honored Mrs. Melson with an award for her community service. Mrs. Melson spent several years in the New Britain schools system as a social caseworker before returning to school to pursue a master's degree in social work. After completing her degree in 1975, Mrs. Melson was employed by the Plymouth Board of Education as Coordinator of Special Education Services until her retirement in 1987. Mrs. Melson was a life-long congregant of the First Church of Christ Church in New Britain. Most recently, Mrs. Melson served as Church Historian and as a mentor for the Youth Program. Following the death of her husband in 2001, Mrs. Melson relocated to North Andover, MA. She joined the South Church in Andover, MA and became an active member of the Edgewood retirement community. Recent health problems had diminished her energy, yet she endured her ailments with her characteristic good humor and composure. Besides her son, Mrs. Melson leaves behind her daughter-in-law, Jennifer Allen Melson; four grandsons; her brother-in-law, Robert L. Melson and his wife; two nephews; a step-granddaughter; and three great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on January 12, 2007 at First Church o Christ, Congregational, 830 Corbin Avenue, New Britain. Friends are invited to attend and to join the family in a reception at First Church following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the New Britain Museum of American Art, 56 Lexington St., New Britain, CT 06052-1412.

Published in The Hartford Courant on Dec. 12, 2006
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