Dr. Richard F. Melka

Dr. Richard F. Melka, 87, of Jackson Avenue, Bradford, beloved father and lifelong educator, passed away Sunday, April 11, 2021, at UPMC Hamot Medical Center.

Dr. Melka was born September 17, 1933 in Buffalo, NY to Joseph and Helen (Balczerowski) Melka.

After graduating from high school, he joined the United States Army and served his country for four years before being honorably discharged.

Dr. Melka studied on the GI Bill, receiving his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in 1960, going on to Purdue University to earn his master’s degree in 1965 and PhD in applied mathematics in 1969.    

His early teaching career included time at Michigan State and Rutgers University.  In 1976 he accepted an offer from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, where he went on to teach math and computer science for 40 years.

Dr. Melka’s mathematical interests centered on math modeling, differential equations, and the history of mathematics.  While he authored or co-authored dozens of academic papers over the course of his career, teaching his students was his greatest joy, and the passion which kept him professionally active until his retirement in 2016.  Upon retirement, he was awarded Professor Emeritus honors from the university.

Dr. Melka’s passion as an educator was only matched by his deep spirituality and religious faith.  In the community, he was a member of St. Francis Church where he served as a Lector as well as Eucharistic Minister, distributed communion to people of faith on First Fridays, and to home bound parishioners and nursing home residents on a regular basis.  He led and participated in many Bible study groups through the years, including a five year period teaching Bible study at FCI McKean.  His professional and spiritual lives converged in his long-standing interest in the mathematical properties of the Holy Trinity.  To reach a larger community, he developed melkaplace.com, where he regularly posted faith-related content. 

In his quiet moments he enjoyed gardening, wood working, boating, fishing, and meditation.

Surviving are three children; one son, Christopher Melka, of Boise ID, two daughters, Lauren Melka (Allen Black), and Katrina Melka, both of Bradford, one niece Cheryl Germony.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Delores P. (Dabov) Melka, and his brother Francis Melka. 

The family would like to deeply thank Tim and Deb Reed, Mike and Hak Su Cauley, Bonnie Burritt, and a large network of dear friends for their late life emotional and physical support. 

Friends will be received on Wednesday April 21, 2021 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am in St. Francis Church. At 11:00 am a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated with Fr. Jim Gutting, Senior Associate as celebrant. Entombment will be in St. Bernard Mausoleum.

For those not able to attend in person, this service was recorded and can  streamed at  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8VgTPP95_ZLd0Ogh3h_Wrg 

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Hollenbeck-Cahill Funeral Homes Inc.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.hollenbeckcahill.com

Memorial contributions if desired may be made to St. Francis Church or a charity of the donor's choice.

 

 

 

 

HOLLENBECK-CAHILL Funeral Home

33 South Avenue • Bradford, PA 16701

All Condolences -

Trina, Laurie and Chris, my deepest sympathies with the passing of your dad. I was privileged to have known him during the time I was coaching at UPB. I always enjoyed speaking with him.
— Keith Bator

Dr. Melka was a kind and inspiring mentor. Grateful to have worked with him on the Terra Nova Society group sharing enthusiasm for environmental awareness activities at the local level and on campus. I am sorry for your loss. May you be comforted to know so many care and remember him well.
— Lydia (Smith) Olechna

I’m so sorry for your loss. Dr. Melaka was a wonderful professor.
— Jennifer (Marsh) Morris

So very sorry for your loss. Dr. Melka was an awesome professor and mentor.
— Michelle Barnhill

Your dad was a gifted professor who made a real difference at a pivotal time in my education and life. My deepest sympathy for your loss.
— Tom Pfaff

I am so sorry for the loss of a wonderful professor who helped me immensely while I was pursuing my degree and then my colleague who gave me a job and was a wonderful mentor. He was always willing to listen and advise. I’ve missed seeing him and think often of his kindness. RIP, Dick. My deepest condolences to your family. ????????????
— Barb Pedersen

Dick Melka was a dedicated math professor and a truly gentle man. I and many others will miss him.
— Carol Baker

To the family of Richard Melka, We are so sorry for your loss. Dick was a great guy!
— Roger & Joyce Geis

To the family of Dr. Melka, I am truly sorry for your loss and pray that God will carry you through this sad and difficult time. Dr. Melka was an amazing Professor to so many of us. He made learning the complexities of mathematics fun and interesting. Dr. Melka also joined in many bible study groups at the church. His passion amd love for God reflected in his very being. A kind and gentle person who will be fondly remembered by many of us Pitt alumni and students.
— Laurie A Marcello

To Trina, Laurie and Chris... Your dad inspired me to start running 22 years ago. I had just moved back to Bradford in 1999. I wanted desperately to get in shape physically and mentally. I joined the Y and wanted to be a runner. The natural course was running from the Y to Pitt. I knew I couldn’t run from the YMCA to Pitt and back without several walk breaks. One evening at the Y , Dr Melka asked me if I wanted to run with him and I said I don’t want to slow you down. The following Monday we started to run together. He never made me feel like I was slowing him down. Six months later I could finally make the 3.1 mile trek without a break. Thousands of miles later he is still in my thoughts every time I leave the Y. I’ll never forget him and what he did for me... I’m sorry for your loss
— John Marasco

Dr. Melka had a profound impact on my life and am forever grateful for my time as his student.
— Kim Mann

To Laurie, Trina and Chris I remember your dad, not as a mathematician or even as spiritual leader, but as your loving, caring and kind father. You were truly blessed to have him in your life and I am sure you will miss him immensely. With sympathy and sadness
— Kate Kenlon Richmond

My thoughts are with you all, especially my old friend Chris. Dr. Melka helped me rebuild my confidence in calculus after I washed out of college in my first year, becoming more than just my friend''s dad.
— Jim Jarrett

I am saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and mentor, Richard Melka. I worked closely with him for thirty years. I taught math courses and traveled for conferences with him. He was a kind, helpful, and thoughtful human being. I will miss him greatly.
— Hashim A Yousif

I attended UPB at a time when I often was the only female in my math classes. Dr. Melka always went out of his way to encourage and mentor me for which I am forever grateful. My deepest sympathy to his family.
— Diane Loomis

Lauren and Trina - so sorry for your loss.
— Lori Works

I was honored to work for you and with you at Pitt-Bradford Mathematics. I still have the picture of St. Michael the Archangel you gave me many years ago. RIP my friend. My thoughts and prayers to your girls.
— Cathy Holzwarth

Lauren and Trina - so sorry for your loss.
— Lori Works

Dick, you did so much for us. We will miss you.
— Yong-Zhuo Chen

I am saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and colleague. My condolences to Dr. Melka''s family.
— David S. Soriano

I am so sorry for your loss. I have never met your father but feel I know him thru my neice, Bonnie. He was a very nice man from what I have heard.
— Carol Scaggs

Professor Melka went out of his way to personally instruct me in Calculus II at his home to allow me to graduate more quickly. He was a great man who I am indebted to for my successful career as an engineer. Thanks again. RIP...
— Russell Lombardo, Jr.

I am sorry to hear of your loss.
— stoney greenberg

Condolences

  • Trina, Laurie and Chris, my deepest sympathies with the passing of your dad. I was privileged to have known him during the time I was coaching at UPB. I always enjoyed speaking with him.

    — Keith Bator
  • Dr. Melka was a kind and inspiring mentor. Grateful to have worked with him on the Terra Nova Society group sharing enthusiasm for environmental awareness activities at the local level and on campus. I am sorry for your loss. May you be comforted to know so many care and remember him well.

    — Lydia (Smith) Olechna
  • I’m so sorry for your loss. Dr. Melaka was a wonderful professor.

    — Jennifer (Marsh) Morris
  • So very sorry for your loss. Dr. Melka was an awesome professor and mentor.

    — Michelle Barnhill
  • Your dad was a gifted professor who made a real difference at a pivotal time in my education and life. My deepest sympathy for your loss.

    — Tom Pfaff