Funeral services for Dr. Melvin D. “Mel” Gillespie, assistant to the president for equity issues at Southeast, will be held at 12 noon Saturday, July 17, at Pilgrim Baptist Church, 711 South Fourth Street, Hamilton, Ohio, with interment in a cemetery at Hamilton. Visitation will be at the church beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. Dr. Gillespie died Sunday in a St. Louis hospital. His death was attributed to a heart attack.
Dr. Gillespie, 58, came to Southeast July 31, 2003, after serving as director of the Office of Economic Opportunity at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia.
After receiving his B.A. in Education degree from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1967, Dr. Gillespie entered the U. S. Air Force and held a number of positions during a 20-year military career, including a four-year tour as director of social action and instructor at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. From 1984 until his retirement from the Air Force in 1987, he was commander of a technical advisory unit in Nairobi, Kenya, developing an extensive computer system for the Kenyan Department of Defense.
Dr. Gillespie received his M.S. degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma and the Ed.D. degree in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University. Among his positions as a civilian educator, in addition to his work at Virginia Tech, Dr. Gillespie served as coordinator of the Multicultural Educational Resource Center at Weber State University in Utah; as special assistant to the president and director of affirmative action at Metropolitan State University in Minnesota; as director of equal educational opportunities for the Broward County School District in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; as director of social equity at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania; and as senior vice president and consultant with B&C Associates in High Point, NC.
He was appointed by Gov. Bob Holden to the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Celebration Commission, and was a member of St. James AME Church, Cape Girardeau, Alpha Phi Alpha, and Phi Kappa Phi.
Dr. Gillespie was the son of the late Isaac Nathaniel (Butch) and Sylvia Lee (Pitts) Gillespie. He is survived by his fiancee, Quantella Anderson, Cape Girardeau; a son, Melvin D. Gillespie, Jr., Atlanta, GA; two daughters, Monique Adams, Phoenix, AZ, and Belva Gillespie, Seattle, WA; a sister, Joyce Ford, Florence, SC; three brothers, Isaac Nathaniel Gillespie, Fairfield, OH, Donald Gillespie, Forest Park, OH, and Brigadier General Lawrence Gillespie, Fairfax, VA; an aunt, Margaret Cooper, New York City; and four grandchildren.
Arrangements for a possible campus memorial service are still under consideration.