Melvyn Ernest Kalich, 73, died on November 18, 2016, at his home in Durham, NC. His surviving family includes Judy, his wife of 53 years, his daughter, Tanya, his son-in-law, Ed Hurt, and his two granddaughters, Claire and Amelia Hurt. He was a man of great intelligence, integrity, and kindness. He was an extraordinary husband, father, grandfather, and friend, and he will be deeply missed.
Mel (as he was known to family and friends) retired as a research optometrist in the Visual Science Branch of the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Fort Rucker, AL. From his boyhood, when he was launching rockets from his back yard, until his death, Mel had a passion for science. He earned a Master’s degree in Psychology, a PhD in Physiological Optics, and an O.D. (doctor of optometry). Outside of his career in visual science research, he pursued lifelong interests in astronomy and physics. As a young man, he worked in the space program at White Sands, NM, and later at NASA, at the campus south of Houston, TX. He was proud of being involved in the development of the Lunar Exploration Module and was thrilled at the first manned moon landing. His interest in the exploration of space continued throughout his life.
Between earning his academic degrees, Mel had a wide variety of other job experiences, including teaching college students, consulting in restaurant management, working on airplane windscreen design at General Dynamics in Fort Worth, and training safety managers for Bechtel Corporation at the South Texas Nuclear Plant in Bay City, Texas.
At Mel’s request, his body will be cremated at Hall Wynne Funeral Service in Durham. He was very modest and private, and did not wish to have a public funeral service, viewing, or wake. The family is very grateful for the many kind expressions of sympathy we have received, and Judy welcomes friends and neighbors to visit her at home. Your compassion and support are much appreciated.
In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials in Mel’s name to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, P. O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142, www.stjude.org.