ENID — Melvin Ray Johndrow passed away at his home in New Bern, N.C., on Monday, July 23, 2012. He was born in Hunter, Okla., on April 13, 1925.
Melvin grew up on a farm near Perry, Okla., where he wrestled on the renowned Perry High School wrestling team and graduated in 1943.
After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and attended college at the University of California at Berkley, where he graduated with a business degree in 1947.
While at Berkley, he married his high school sweetheart, Virginia Wilson, of Garber, Okla. They were married at a friend’s home overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in 1945.
Mel and Virginia returned to Enid, Okla., to begin a 42-year career with the JCPenney Co. that carried them through Shreveport, La., Jackson, Miss., Atlanta, Ga., Norfolk, Va., and New Bern, N.C. Melvin opened the New Bern JCPenney store at Twin Rivers Mall in 1979, and retired in May 1989.
Throughout his life, he loved traveling, camping, fishing and crabbing. He spent much of his retirement enjoying the waters around Swansboro, N.C.
Melvin is survived by his wife of 66 years, Virginia Johndrow; son, Jack Johndrow and wife Kim of Advance, N.C.; daughter, Jenny Johndrow and husband John Chilton of Portsmouth, Va.; son, David Johndrow and wife Nancy of Raleigh, N.C.; and son, Jon Johndrow and wife Marcia of New Bern, N.C. Also surviving are granddaughters, Heather Murphy and husband Scott of Chesapeake, Va., and Caroline Johndrow of Raleigh, N.C.; and great-grandsons, Noah and Will Murphy, of Chesapeake, Va. Melvin is also survived by sister, Enid Heppler and husband Bernard of Perry, Okla.; and brother, Robert Johndrow and wife Veda of Winfield, Kan.
Service will be 2 p.m. Thursday, July 26, 2012, at Cotten Funeral Home, 2201 Neuse Blvd., New Bern, N.C. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Arrangements by Cotten Funeral Home & Crematory, New Bern, N.C.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Community Hospice Foundation at chchfoundation.org, or National Parks and Conservation Association at npca.org.
(Submitted by family)
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