Mr. Bladen was born on May 29, 1943 in Washington, DC.
Mel started his Government career July, 1961 when he joined the U.S. Navy shortly after high school graduation. During his early Navy years, he married his high school sweetheart, Darlene.
During 1965 and 1966, while serving on the Navy Destroyer USS Barry DD933, he was deployed with Destroyer Squadron 24 to the Western Pacific and combat duty in Vietnamese waters, accompanying the USS Enterprise.
After military separation in May, 1966, Mel entered Federal Service at the Naval Communications Station, WashDC (Cheltenham, MD) in the Commercial Refile section. To obtain Government “status”, he tested for Security Police and was assigned to the Naval Research Laboratory’s Chesapeake Bay Division in Randle Cliffs, MD (Chesapeake Beach) and later transferred to a Communications position there.
In 1985, Mel ventured “outside” the Government to manage the first fast food restaurant (Hardees) in his home county of Calvert (MD) later to re-enter Government service with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms or ATF. There he aided in establishing and manning their first Communications Center.
In February, 1973, Mel began work at the Department of State in the Office of Communications, Telegraphic Branch and advanced to the position of Facilities Control Technician.
In 1986, Mel was invited to join the nucleus of the Department of State’s new Relay Facility in Beltsville, MD. Ultimately he became the midnight shift Supervisor. In this position he became well known to the Communicators at the Department of State’s Embassies and Consulates throughout the world in guiding them in the ways of the new relay system.
Mel retired in October, 1994, after 20 years at the Department of State, with a total combined 33 years’ service.
In retirement, Mel enjoyed the laid back life style of Southern Maryland living. He was proud to serve on the Vestry at Christ Church. He enjoyed riding his motorcycle, cutting grass on his John Deere, visits with family and friends, playing with his grandkids, and reconnecting with old friends on the internet. In 2012, he and Darlene moved to Conway, SC and fulfilled their lifelong dream of building their first new house where they enjoyed walks on the beach, making many new friends, and entertaining family and friends during visits
Mel is preceded in death by his father Temple Bladen and stepfather Don Harris.
Mel is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Darlene, children, Melvin Jr. & Emily Bladen, Melissa Sisk & Charles “Chip” Poff and Michael Bladen & Lisa Burns; his mother, Edith Harris; sisters Connie Abner and Patricia Reynolds; nine grandchildren: Shane Bladen, Ronnie Sisk, Niki Bladen, Casey Sisk, Deanna Bladen, Shania Bladen, Robbie Sisk, Mariam Bladen and Jo-Jo Bladen; two great-grandchildren: Hailey Bean and Shawn Bladen.
The family will receive friends on Friday April 17, 2015 from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at the Rausch Funeral Home, 4405 Broomes island Road Port Republic, MD. Funeral services will be held on Saturday April 18, 2015, 10 AM at Christ Church, Port Republic MD with interment to follow in the church cemetery. Honorary pallbearers will be James Vitale, John Vitale, John Abner, Thomas Guy, and George Owings, III. Active pallbearers are Richard Lang, John Morgan, Leonard Ogden, Larry Bowen, Ronald Sisk, Tony Reynolds, Robert Abner and Charles Poff. Memorial contributions may be made to Christ Church, 3100 Broomes Island Road, Port Republic, MD 20676