1927 – 2001 (July 2)
Francis Lawrence Melcher was born on July 27, 1927 to August Melcher and Agnes Henry in Bally, PA. He attended Most Blessed Sacrament Parochial School from 1933-1941 and then entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, NY, as a postulant. On September 8, 1945 he entered the novitiate at New Hamburg, NY, where he professed first vows on September 10, 1946. Solemn Profession followed on September 10, 1949. Frank studied philosophy at Villanova College and graduated with a BA in 1950. He pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, DC, and was ordained to the priesthood on September 8, 1953 at Villanova, by Archbishop John O'Hara. Following ordination he pursued graduate studies in German at the Catholic University of America and obtained the master's degree in 1954.
Father Melcher's first assignment was to Archbishop Carroll High School in 1954 where he taught until 1967. In that year he was assigned to teach at Biscayne College in Florida. In 1968 he was transferred to Monsignor Bonner High School where he taught and was chaplain until 1975. In that year he was assigned as parochial vicar at Saint Thomas of Villanova parish, Rosemont, PA. From 1978 to 1983 he was prior and treasurer at Saint Mary's, Waterford, NY, and pastor of the parish from 1979-1982. In 1983 he was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova University, and served as chaplain at Haverford State Hospital. From 1984 to 1995 he was parochial vicar at Our Mother of Consolation Parish, Chestnut Hill, PA. In 1995 he returned to Saint Thomas Monastery and again was chaplain at Haverford State Hospital until poor health made it necessary for him to give up this ministry. He died on July 2, 2001 at Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, PA.
Father Melcher was a gentle person, sensitive to the needs of others, especially those in difficult circumstances. He was a dedicated teacher, a compassionate priest, and fully engaged in community life.
His Funeral Mass took place on July 5, 2001, at Saint Thomas Church, Villanova. Father is buried in the Augustinian plot, Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, PA.