Melvin Arnold Epstein
August 24, 1926 - January 14, 2016
Melvin Epstein died peacefully in his sleep in Atlanta, GA. He lived a long and happy life and will be missed by all who loved him.
He was born to Ida Rosenzweig Epstein and Max Epstein in Houston. Texas. Struggling because of the depression, the family moved to Kingsville when Melvin was two years old, to open a shoe store with another family. When the store could no longer support both families, they flipped a coin - winner take all. The Epstein’s lost and Ida and Max, along with their three young children, boarded the train headed to Rosenberg. When the train broke down in Bay City, Max walked to the town square and learned the adjoining store was for sale. The Epsteins purchased the store and moved to Bay City, where Melvin spent most of the next 65 years.
Melvin attended the University of Texas and completed his business degree at the University of Houston. He met Renee’ Lewis in Sunday school in Wharton, when they were teenagers, and married in 1949. Theirs was a true love story, and they were devoted to one another, and their family, until Renee’s death in 1995. They had four children, Max, Jaine, Robert, and Betty, and one grandchild, Bo.
Melvin went into the family business with Renee’ by his side, buying the store, Rosenzweigs, from his parents. Later, they opened Milady’s, The Town Shop, and Clothes, Inc. Their businesses included real estate and banking, but Melvin’s real passion was for the arts. He and Renee’ brought up their children with theatre, music, and dance, and brought Festival Arts to the community. He was especially proud when Max pursued a career as an opera conductor.
Traveling was a passion for Melvin, who toured all seven continents, usually wearing shorts, sandals, a Tilley hat, and carrying his backpack. We will cherish our memories of trips taken together from California to Kathmandu.
Since the 1970’s, Melvin carried a tattered piece of paper in his wallet with his favorite quotation: “Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts or measure words, but to pour them out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”
To be in Melvin’s life was to experience just this kind of comfort. A quiet man, he always had a smile on his face, a positive attitude, and a heart open to anyone who sought him out.
Melvin is survived by his daughter, Jaine; his son, Robert and his husband Rob Dean; daughter, Betty; and grandson, and granddaughter-in-law, Bo and Esther Fraser.
Tribune, January 24, 2016