Rev. Bill Melzoni, a pastor who began his career 73 years ago, dies

An Enterprise Staff Report
A Teetersville man who began a 73-year career as a pastor at age 13 died April 18, 2003, at his home.
The Rev. Bill Melzoni, 86, told an Enterprise reporter last year at his retirement party that he "had saved too many (souls) to count."
"When it's all said and done the Lord will know," Melzoni said. "He keeps count of everything."
Melzoni's preaching career began at Merimac Baptist Church in Laurel County. He also served at Balkan Baptist Church in Bell County, Coxton Baptist Church, Verda Baptist Church and Brookville Baptist Church in Brookville, Ohio.
He was mission pastor at Harlan Baptist Church for 21 years and has served as pastor at Dressen Baptist Church, Watts Creek Baptist Church, Grays Knob Baptist Church and Teetersville Baptist Church.
He was the first and only pastor of Teetersville Baptist Church, where he served for 46 years until his retirement in June of 2002.
He touched the lives of many Harlan County children, serving as a bus driver for the Harlan County and Harlan Independent school systems for several years. He was a member of the executive board of the Kentucky State Baptist Convention and was a moderator and clerk for the Upper Cumberland Association of Baptists.
A member of the Glory Singers from Harlan Baptist Church, he was a Kentucky Colonel, a World War II veteran having served as a chaplain and a member and past grand counselor of the fraternal organization of the United Commercial Travelers. He was a member of this group for 55 years.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Martha Melzoni; two sons: Larry Wayne Melzoni and Roger Allen Blanton; four brothers: Lawrence Melzoni, Pete Melzoni, Thomas Melzoni and Eugene Buress; and four sisters: Mildred Melzoni, Ethel Lehnert, Paralee Jackson and Louella Smith.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Rachel Waters Melzoni; two daughters: Brenda Harrison, Harlan; and Jane Shoope and husband, Howard, Harlan; one sister, Mary Iverson and husband Ira, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; two sister-in-laws, Oza Melzoni, Woodway, Va., and Tressie Melzoni, Dayton, Ohio; seven grandchildren: Terri Howard, Sevierville, Tenn.; Shelli Metcalfe and husband Rob, Wilmington, N.C.; Merrill "Jabo" Harrison and wife Regina, Mount Sterling; Ronnie Shoope and wife, Amy, Harlan; Michael Shoope and wife, Greta, Sharps Chapel, Tenn.; Lisa Tolliver and husband Lee, Harlan; and Allen Blanton, Harlan; nine great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Visitation will be 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. today at Teetersville Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be conducted today at 7:30 p.m. at the church with Dr. Tom Melzoni and the Rev. Nasby Mills officiating.
Graveside services will be conducted Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Resthaven Cemetery.
Merrell "Jabo" Harrison, Ronnie Shoope, Michael Shoope, Allen Blanton, Rob Metcalfe and Lee Tolliver will serve as pallbearers.
Men of the Teetersville Baptist Church and ministers from the Upper Cumberland Association of Baptist will serve as honorary pallbearers.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Melzoni Memorial Fund at Clearcreek Bible College or Mountain Heritage Hospice.

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