Frank V. Meluch, 87, America's Only Natural Ventriloquist

Photo of Frank V. Meluch Frank Vincent Meluch, 87, of Elyria, died Thursday December 4, 2003 at his home after a short illness.

He was born January 25, 1916 in United, Pennsylvania and moved to Lorain with his family in 1925. He has lived at his Elyria residence for the past 54 years.

Mr. Meluch served with the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II as a sergeant under General George Patton in Germany. His decorations and citations include the World War II Victory Medal, the EAME Victory Medal with one Bronze Star, Meritorious Unit Award, American Theatre Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

Mr. Meluch worked at U.S. Steel in Lorain as a brakeman, conductor and engineer of 110 ton diesel engine for over 40 years retiring in 1977.

At the age of 20, he was billed as “America’s Only National Ventriloquist” and was known professionally as Don King. During the war, he and his side-kick Jerry Du Berry entertained the troops. He later became a magician specializing in illusion and slight-of-hand with coins, cards and ropes. His coin tricks included using silver dollars that many other slight-of-hand artists said were impossible. Other hobbies in his repertoire included juggling, mimicry and rope spinning. He enjoyed performing locally in schools, hospitals, various clubs and nursing homes.

A great believer in physical culture, he became a boxer and was a Golden Glove Boxing Champion in Lorain, Huron, Erie and Medina counties during the 1930’s.

Mr. Meluch was a member of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Elyria and the church Holy Name Society in which he was a past president in the late 1950’s. He was an avid reader and researched and studied inspirational literature.

A devoted husband and family man, he was someone who guided and inspired. A true man of God, he healed hearts, souls, minds and bodies of everyone he met by sharing gifts of humor and unyielding faith and hope, even during the most challenging times. He believed anything was possible if you worked at it and never gave up. He believed in miracles.

His heart was a treasure of kindness and gentle strength, of manliness and honesty. He was the family role model, mentor and hero. As the family guru, he taught by example how to live, love and ultimately die with dignity. Although confined to his home for the last 5 years, he remained engaged with his family, loved watching sports games and doing word puzzles while always projecting a positive demeanor. His family has been honored and blessed to be part of his family and will cherish his love and wisdom forever.

He is survived by his wife Ilene Meluch (nee Moran), with whom he celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary this past September, daughter: Mary Ann Nickel of Elyria, Diana Hlebovy of Elyria and Jane Kara of Grafton; sons: Jim Meluch of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Michael Meluch of Bay Village and Larry Meluch of Olmsted Falls; 12 grandchildren and one great granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his parents Steven and Anna Meluch (nee Saska), Brothers Joseph Meluch, John Meluch, Steve Meluch, Paul Meluch (nee Saska). Other survivors include Robert Meluch and Sisters Helen Wisnieski and Margaret Kufel in October 2003.

Friends may call Sunday from 4-8 p.m. at the Gluvna-Shimo-Hromada Funeral Chapel, 3224 Broadway Ave., Lorain where a Parastas Service will be held Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held Monday at 1:00 p.m. in the funeral chapel followed by a funeral mass at 1:45 p.m. at St. Agnes and Monsignor Michael Moran, pastor of the Cathedral of St. Mary Byzantine Rite Catholic Church of Van Nuys, California will officiate. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Lorain where the Disabled American Veterans Louis Paul Proy Chapter #20 of Lorain will conduct military honors.

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