Industry News

Ellis Melton dies at 97; founder of Ellis Melton Company

Ask any Arkansas funeral director who knew Mr. Ellis Melton and they will tell you he was more than a supplier of funeral products. He was a true friend who cared deeply about helping funeral homes achieve success. Ellis, 97, died Friday, February 7, 2014, according to an obituary.

More than 6 decades ago, Ellis Melton, a sales representative for Funeral Supply and Equipment Company in Little Rock, Arkansas, pursued an opportunity that would eventually become the standard in providing quality burial products to funeral homes. Sixty eight years later, Mr. Melton’s commitment to funeral homes is evident in the day to day operations of Melton Company, Inc, under the leadership of Ellis’ son Presley Melton and now his grandsons Mark and Adam Melton.

Ellis Melton was part of The Greatest Generation having served in World War II and returning home to Arkansas to resume his career in funeral service. He was a true entrepreneur who believed in the success of his funeral home clients, but most importantly believed in funeral service. Ellis’ incredible work ethic, commitment to funeral homes and ability to adapt to change led his company to growth and success. Jeff Smith, owner of North Little Rock Funeral Home, remembers the day Mr. Melton took him out for lunch shortly after he began employment at the funeral home. Over lunch Mr. Melton expressed how proud he was of Jeff and shared many stories of Jeff’s granddad, Clifford Smith, who founded North Little Rock Funeral Home in 1955. Jeff will never forget the day when Ellis made funeral arrangements for his wife of 69 years, Louise. It was no surprise that Ellis insisted on paying the full retail price of the casket he selected. Jeff believes it was that high level of respect that Mr. Melton demonstrated every single day that contributed to his successful working relationships across the state of Arkansas.

Ellis served over 20 years as Secretary of the Arkansas Funeral Supply Sales Club and also served as a board member of the Casket Manufacturers Association of America. For Ellis his customers were his friends and staying connected during retirement was no challenge. Ellis and Louise traveled the state in their motor home visiting their friends in funeral service. Customers also looked forward to his annual Christmas phone calls. Arkansas funeral directors, will remember Ellis as being a man of honesty and integrity someone they could always count on.

"Ellis Melton began a legacy of service that continues to this day," said Bill Hudson, Vice President of sales at Aurora. "Funeral professionals throughout Arkansas knew Mr. Melton was committed to helping their business. That tradition lives on through his family business today."

He was predeceased by Louise, his wife of 69 years and his parents Lessie and Ellis H. Melton. He is survived by his sister NathaLee Witt of Heber Springs, two sons, Ellis Melton Jr. (Kay), of Fayetteville and Presley Melton (Jo), of North Little Rock; daughter, Ginger Smith (Danny), of Russellville; five grandsons, Brian Smith, Jason Smith (Jennifer), Andrew Melton, Mark Melton (Katie), and Adam Melton; four greatgrandchildren, Anna Smith and Lauren, Jack, and Lily Melton.

Posted Feb. 14, 2014


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