Obituary: Jacqueline W. Mellen, former staff member and alumna
Born in Bennington, Vt., she moved at the age of 2 to Guilford, Vt., where she lived with her parents. She attended Brattleboro High School where she met William J. Mellen, whom she married in 1943.
After World War II, the couple moved to Amherst, where he continued his studies at the University on the GI Bill, and she worked for the Music Department. She played trombone in the UMass Marching Band and Orchestra, and sang in the chorus. She also was a costume manager for the university’s operettas.
She was president of the UMass Veterans' Wives, which promoted educational and social opportunities for the wives of veterans who were returning to college.
In 1949, they moved to Ithaca, N.Y., where Bill pursued a doctorate at Cornell University. Jackie worked in the office of the secretary of the university’s college of agriculture until their first of three daughters was born in 1951.
In 1953, Bill accepted a faculty position at the University of Delaware, and the couple moved to Newark, where Jackie became active in the local League of Women Voters. She held several board positions, including president.
In 1958, the family moved to Sunderland when Bill was appointed to a faculty position at UMass. In 1960-61, they lived in Sapporo, Japan, as part of an exchange program with Hokkaido University. While there, Jackie developed a keen interest in the people, language and culture of Japan.
Upon the family’s return to the U.S. they settled in South Amherst, where Jackie continued to devote her time to raising her daughters.
In the early 1970s, she enrolled at UMass and in 1978 received a bachelor's degree in Japanese language and a certificate in Asian studies. She graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Over the next few years, the Mellens returned to Sapporo four times where she directed a summer study-abroad program at Hokkaido University for UMass students. She received a citation from the governor of Hokkaido for her work with women and youth groups throughout the province.
At UMass, she worked as a convention aide in the Student Union from 1963-65 and later held brief appointments in Asian Studies and International Programs. She was also a lecturer in Continuing Education from 1981-85.
She was active in the University Women and served as president for two years.
After retirement, the Mellens moved to Leeds and later to Hadley.
She leaves her husband of 69 years, professor emeritus William J. Mellen of Hadley; daughter Donna L. Mellen and her life partner, Donald K. Carew, of Leverett; daughter Kathleen A. Mellen and her husband, Dr. David E. Katz, of Northampton; daughter Carol M. Rogers and her husband, James S. Rogers, of Hadley; four granddaughters and a grandson, and several cousins and nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.