Norton Melaver passed away last week. The story of his role in the Savannah community was shared on the front and editorial pages of the Savannah Morning News. Both spoke of his business, religious and civic leadership.


I attended Mr. Melaver’s funeral on Sunday and saw many people that are part of “my” Savannah. All three of the Melaver children spoke about their dad and there was plenty to say. Norton was involved in and led dozens of business, civic and religious activities over the decades. Martin Melaver pointed out that the two public accomplishments his father was proudest of were the hiring of African American cashiers at M&M Supermarkets at a time when this was unheard of, and the questioning and rectifying of certain insider business practices at Memorial Hospital roughly 20 years ago.


Both of these actions took gumption. Not everything we do as leaders or as followers requires gumption. It’s just interesting to me that the two things that Norton felt were his most important contributions involved having the gumption to question and challenge the status quo.


On a personal note, the Melavers were early, long standing, generous contributors to Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy. Norton and wife Betty came to a dinner and discussion at my house 20 years ago, when my wife and I lived on Duffy and Waters. Betty sat on the floor. Norton was a little more formal, but very much at home among the broad mix of people.


Also noted… Reverend Bennie Mitchell passed away earlier this week. Tom Barton shares his memory of Rev. Mitchell in his editorial in today’s Savannah Morning News. If you read Tom’s editorial you will see two familiar names, Waddie Welcome and Addie Reeves…

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