Mellion remembered for love of city, dedication to public service

Staff Report

More than 400 people packed the Plaquemine Community Center Nov. 13 to pay their last respects to longtime Selectman Oscar S. Mellion Sr., who died Nov. 2 after a battle with cancer.

Plaquemine Mayor Edwin “Ed” Reeves Jr. paid tribute to Oscar Mellion, a 24-year memer of the Plaquemine Board of Selectmen.

Mellion was best known for his 24 years of service on the Board of Selectmen, but he was also a U.S. Army Veteran, a member of the Louisiana State Prole Board, a Plaquemine Deputy Marshal and investigator for the Plaquemine City Court.

Plaquemine Mayor Edwin “Ed” Reeves Jr., who delivered one of the two eulogies at Mellion’s funeral, remembered the first time he met him.

Mellion, who was working for the City Police, gave Reeves a speeding ticket when he was 15.

Longtime Selectman Oscar S. Mellion Sr. died Nov. 2 after a battle with cancer.

“The day I got my driver’s license, my dad let me drive the streets of Plaquemine and I found myself being pulled over by a city police officer – and it happened to be Oscar Mellion,” he said. “He gave me a ticket for speeding and I was mad as hell, and I had to go tell my dad I got a speeding ticket.

“I didn’t like Oscar after that, but I finally realized that it was because I was speeding and Oscar was doing his job – and it turns out I always did,” he Reeves said. “And I lost my drivers privileges two years after.”

The mayor said 14 years later when he was first elected to the Plaquemine Board of Selectmen, he had to sit alongside Mellion.

“I said to myself that it would be a long four-year term,” Reeves said. “But I grew to admire Oscar because he had a great knowledge of the inner workings of city government, he knew the city ordinances and he knew how to get along people … I learned a great deal with Oscar during those seven years."

When Reeves was elected mayor after serving on the Parish Council, he said he became good friends with Mellion and developed profound respect for the way Mellion conducted business.

“He was an exceptional councilman who served with honor and dedication,” Reeves said. “Whenever I had a problem and needed advice, I would find myself in the situation room at Oscar’s home, and he always gave me great advice.

“Oscar was a big part of my success in moving the city forward, and we shared the same goals. He always had my back and could’ve abandoned me on several occasions, but he did not.”

Spiver Gordon, who campaigned for civil rights for many years, also spoke at the funeral for longtime Plaquemine Selectman Oscar Mellion.

Spiver Gordon, who became involved with the NAACP, working on voter registration and work with the Coalition of Racial Equality and later with as a Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Eutaw, Ala., remembered Mellion for his dedication to his community.

"I remember as a little boy, and I had him in my arms," Gordon said. "When he grew up, I remember when he worked with the taxi service. He was running that thing, getting cars out and picking up people. He was always about organizing and doing something."

“He missed the civil rights movement because he was too young, and that’s what brought us to this place. There wasn’t a time we couldn’t settle like brothers and sisters and be proud of each other,” Gordon said. “It’s not about black or white, it’s about doing away with everything wrong and doing what’s right.

"Oscar became a political leader and civic leader in this city, and he was so dedicated that when he was dying, he wanted to go home to get with his family,” he said. “I remember when he was out in the street helping the people, and that’s what Oscar was all about.”

Prior to the service, Plaquemine Public Works Director Richard Alleman remembered the years he served alongside Mellion.

“He was a great public servant,” Alleman said. “He always supported what he believed was right, and he wasn’t just concerned about his own district – he was concerned about what was best for the city as a whole.

“Oscar was a man who loved Plaquemine,” he said.

Mellion was survived by his wife Geraldine Hines; four daughters, Mellion, Amanda (George) Barrett, Takisha Mellion of New Orleans, Kendrick White of Baton Rouge, and LaTedra Mellion of Brusly, along with sons Michael “Corey” (Kimberly: Lellion of Gonzales and Oscar S. Mellion III of Brusly, as well as stepchildren Charlene (Charles) Singleton of New Orleans and Alphonse (Drennan) Brown of Laplace, 24 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.