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Kenneth Melling

October 22, 1934 ~ August 6, 2017 (age 82)

The Piano Brothers
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Ken Melling passed away at home in Tryon, NC on August 6, 2017. Born in St. Ives in England on October 22, 1934, he was the son of Annie and George Melling and the step-son of Bob Wolmsley. He is survived by his wife, Linda, and his three children: Janet Melling of Uster/Switzerland; David (Rita) Melling of Winterthur/Switzerland; and Dan Melling of Durham, NC. Ken grew up in Darwen, Lancashire, just outside of Blackburn. He survived the bombing of Manchester and his town during WWII, alone with his mother, Annie. His father, George, was lost during WWII; but his mother later remarried Bob Wolmsley, a man Ken was happy to call "Dad". Many summers were spent working on a small Cornish fishing boat, providing both food and income during a very difficult time after WWII. During a school trip to France, Ken made friends with a French family and decided to stay with them after his schoolmates returned to England, working in the family cafe as an "illegal immigrant". At the time England still had rationing and food was scarce, but in France there was plenty. Only when the head of the gendarmerie changed a year later was "l'Anglais" discovered and escorted to LeHavre for England. After graduating from the Blackburn College of Technology and Design, he started on a textile engineering career that would take him to over 35 countries and 5 out of 7 continents. He was known for his expertise in warp preparation and his ability to improve efficiency in production by advising the best application of their weaving equipment. He was particularly successful in Japan, where he worked with Genichiro Tanaka, whom he called his Japanese brother. Known as a keen observer, during his career travels he was at times called upon by the Swiss government to report on Soviet troop and equipment movements in the 1960's and 70's. He passed through "Check Point Charlie" into East Berlin on business more than once. His wife often referred to him as "Mr. Fix-it" because he always could find a solution for a problem, be it business or personal. Unfortunately, after three previous fights with cancer, he succumbed to metastatic kidney cancer for which there was no "fix". May he rest in peace.


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