Melvin E. Cruser, Jr. passed away peacefully on 6/12/16 after suffering a severe stroke. He was born on 10/12/1919, the first child of Melvin and Antoinette Cruser, in Norfolk, VA. He attended Norfolk Academy, graduating in 1935 at the age of 15. He then attended the Norfolk division of the College of William and Mary for two years before graduating from Washington and Lee University with a BS degree in physics. He taught school for several years at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond and at Shawsville High School where he met his future bride, Mary McCallum Brewer, who was also teaching there.
During World War II, the newlyweds moved to Fredericksburg, Mary’s hometown. Mel worked at the base nearby in Dalgren, VA, helping the war effort by testing bomb release mechanisms. After the war, the couple moved to Norfolk where Mel worked for a time at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Desiring to further his education, he earned his Master’s degree in Physics at UVA.
The little family soon moved back to Norfolk and Mel began working for the Dept. of the Navy at the Acoustic Range in Ft. Story in Virginia Beach. Mary urged him to buy a house at the North End of Virginia Beach with a nice yard. The first thing Mel did was build a two story garage where he spent many happy hours building and fixing things. He taught himself plumbing, carpentry, woodworking, and electrical work, and neighbors would often bring him their broken appliances to fix.
When the Acoustic Range was closed down, he was reassigned to the Navigation School at Dam Neck where he taught Polaris Submarine Navigation to some of the Navy’s finest officers. He made a great many friends there with whom he still kept in touch.
Soon after moving to the Beach, the family joined Galilee Episcopal Church where Mel served as a lay reader and on the Vestry. He also volunteered his time with the Boy Scouts and Little League. He later led a Bible study class at Galilee until he was about 90. His last ten years were spent in assisted living where he made many friends and helped enrich their lives in their last days. Mary passed away in 2008, but his great faith helped him stay strong.
He is survived by his son Melvin III (Sara) and two grandchildren, Wade (Laura) and Jennifer, a brother Fred (Mary), three nephews Fred Jr. (Sharon), Bruce (Johnna) and Paul (Lynn) and several great nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank his devoted caregiver Cynthia Gilman as well as his previous caregiver, Carole Haymond.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation or the general fund of Galilee Church.
The family will have a visitation on 6/17/16 at their home at 3109 Audley Way in Virginia Beach from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. Services will be at Galilee Episcopal Church at 11:00 AM on 6/18/16 with a reception to follow. The Cremation Society of Virginia is handling the arrangements and condolences may be made to the family at vacremationsociety.com.