Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Gerald E. Melchin Gerald E. (Eldon) Melchin

1921 - living

  • Born 1921 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Mission to East Canada 1942-1944
  • Married Evelyn Knowles 1945, Logan Utah Temple; seven children
  • Bishop, Stake President, Regional Representative
  • First Quorum of Seventy 1988-1989
  • Second Quorum of Seventy 1989-1994
  • President of the Toronto Ontario Temple 1993—1996, during which time he was released as a General Authority.

    The following biographical sketch is adapted from the "News of the Church: Elder Gerald E. Melchin of the First Quorum of the Seventy" published in the Ensign for November 1988 on the occasion of Elder Melchin's call to the First Quorum of the Seventy:
    The turning point in Gerald E. Melchin’s spiritual life was a special priesthood blessing, which led him to promise to serve the Lord in any way he could. “I had returned from my mission, was married, and the success of my auto transport business was being threatened,” Elder Melchin explains, “yet my patriarchal blessing gave me complete confidence that the Lord would protect me if I would put the Lord’s work first and tithe fully. So I continued to serve as a stake missionary, able to sleep well without fearing for my business.” His unflinching devotion to the Lord has continued since, in every aspect of his life.

    Gerald Elden Melchin was born to Arthur and Rosetta Melchin on 14 May 1921. He grew up in Raymond, Alberta, where he was living when called to serve a full-time mission.

    Missionary work has been an important part of Elder Melchin’s life. In fact, Gerald Melchin and Evelyn Knowles first met while they were missionaries in the East Canada Mission. “My period of service in the mission ended before Evelyn’s,” recalls Elder Melchin, “so, since the war was still on in 1944, I entered the Royal Canadian Air Force, becoming a pilot officer shortly before the end of World War II. Evelyn and I continued writing each other.”

    Once he was discharged, Brother Melchin was eager to visit the Knowles family in Ogden, Utah, to ask for Evelyn’s hand in marriage. Her parents had already been impressed with Gerald because of a letter from the mission president’s wife, saying, “I would willingly line up my daughters, and Gerald Melchin could take his pick of them.”

    With such endorsement, it didn’t take long to arrange a wedding in the Logan Temple. Looking back on their years together, Sister Melchin says, “My husband is the kindest man I know.”

    After thirteen years, they left Raymond for Calgary, where Brother Melchin remembers the great challenge—which now seems more humorous than difficult—of being called by stake president N. Eldon Tanner to be the stake dance director. Elder Melchin recalls: “I really did not want to do it. I didn’t dance—didn’t like to dance.But I had promised the Lord that I would do what he asked.” President Tanner said later that he knew just what kind of man Gerald Melchin was when he accepted that call.

    Calgary was also where Elder Melchin served as bishop and later as stake president, Sister Melchin served in the Young Women organization and as ward and then stake Relief Society president. She also shared her rich soprano voice by singing solos and directing choirs.

    When Gerald was called to preside over the California Arcadia Mission in 1972, he and Evelyn sold the business they owned with his brother Howard, which had become the largest auto transport business in western Canada.

    Four years ago, Brother Melchin was called to be a Regional Representative.

    Well acquainted with service in the Church, the Melchins have now accepted a full-time call that requires leaving their seven children and twenty-six grandchildren. “Leaving them is the greatest sacrifice,” they agree. Missing an important part of the development and growth of grandchildren and the events of their young lives requires devotion to the gospel and an eternal perspective of family relations. “We have faith that the Lord will be with them,” Elder Melchin adds.

    President N. Eldon Tanner’s words come to mind again, only this time applied to both Elder and Sister Melchin: one can easily see what kind of people would accept such a call.

    Gerry Avant of the Church News reported Elder Melchin's call to the First Quorum thusly: LDS Church News Archives,
Saturday, November 19, 1988\


Gerry Avant, Church News assistant editor\

    About 30 years ago, Gerald E. Melchin was called to a position in the Church he felt he couldn't fulfill very well. He and his wife, Evelyn, and their young family had recently moved from Raymond, Alberta, to Calgary, where the stake president was N. Eldon Tanner, who later served 22 years as a General Authority including 19 years in the First Presidency.

   The Melchins were called to serve as stake dance directors. "I told one of the counselors in the stake presidency I didn't know how to dance," he said.

   The call was still extended. To his wife's surprise, Gerald Melchin accepted it. "I had made a commitment that I would serve in any position to which I was called," he said. "There was nothing I could do but say, "I will serve.' "

   It was with that same commitment that Elder Gerald E. Melchin accepted a call to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Melchin, 67, was sustained in general conference Oct. 1.

   He said he knows as little now about being a General Authority as he knew then about how to dance, but he approaches his call with faith, "literally taking one step at a time."

   As things turned out, the Melchins were successful dance directors, but only after a lot of hard work. "We went to Lethbridge for a training session," he recalled. "Everyone else knew all the terms and steps and were just dancing away, and we didn't know anything. We were lost on the dance floor. When we went home, I studied the steps and Evelyn put in the rhythm for the dances. We had a wonderful time."

   Those who knew Gerald Melchin were not surprised at his willingness to learn how to dance in order to serve in the Church. Ever since his boyhood days in western Canada, he has felt a strong commitment to serve, even when it has been difficult.

   He was born in Kitchener, Ontario, but grew up in Raymond, Alberta. "My grandfather Melchin became ill so we returned to Kitchener for about a year," he said. "I was a teenager. That was the first time I really got involved with serving in the Church. It was a small branch, and everybody had an assignment. I was called on to speak very often, and I became involved in working with the full-time missionaries.

   "After I returned to Raymond, I was talking with some friends with whom I had grown up. I remember how disappointed I was when, as we talked about the Prophet Joseph Smith, they said they didn't know if they believed he was really a prophet. They had been in the Church all their lives. It was really a sad experience for me.

   "I had never doubted any part of the gospel as a young boy. I had always believed my parents and Sunday School teachers, but I think I gained my real testimony when I started to read the Book of Mormon when I was 17. My father was the only one on his side of the family who had joined the Church, but Grandfather AmosT Willis was baptized in about 1920.

 "He was a great one to sit and talk to me. His conversion was interesting. Two missionaries were walking one day in Kitchner. They were discouraged because they had not met anyone who would listen to their message. As they passed by my grandfather's house, they heard music playing on a phonograph. The record was a song that had been sung at their farewells. They walked up to the house and stood quietly by the door, listening to the music. They did not knock.

   "Grandfather Willis saw them standing there and invited them in. He was a Bible student. He accepted their message right away. Sometimes, it is almost overwhelming to think of all the family members who came into the Church because of him."

   Having heard his grandfather's conversion story recounted so many times and seeing first-hand the blessings the gospel brings to a family and individuals, he eagerly accepted a call to serve in the Eastern Canadian Mission from 1942-44.

   After his mission, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He became a wireless air gunner, and was commissioned an officer just before World War II ended. "They didn't need air crews any more, so I was one of the first ones released," he said.

   After he was discharged from military service, he began a courtship with Evelyn Knowles of Ogden, Utah, whom he had met while on his mission. She was serving as a secretary in the mission office.

   They were married in the Logan (Utah) Temple July 12, 1945. They are parents of seven children: Richard, Shauna, Robyn, Gregory, Brook, Wade and Barbara. They have 26 grandchildren.

   Elder and Sister Melchin made their home in Raymond, Alberta, where he and his brother began an automobile dealership. In about 1949, the brothers started an auto transport company. Their business became the largest such company in western Canada, which made it necessary for Elder and Sister Melchin to move to Calgary, into the stake in which he was called as dance director.

In 1962 he was called as bishop of the Calgary 3rd Ward. When the Calgary North Stake was created in 1966, he was called as stake president.

   From 1972 to 1975, he was president of the California Arcadia Mission, after which time he served on a stake high council and as the Calgary welfare region agent.

   He had devoted as much time to serving in the Church as anyone could ever expect, but he felt he could do more. One day in 1984, while visiting in Logan, Utah, he walked to the top of a mountain where he pondered his service in the Church. "In essence, I told the Lord I was ready to do more," Elder Melchin said. "Whatever He wanted me to do, wherever He wanted me to go, I was ready."

   When Elder Melchin returned from the mountain to his hotel room, the telephone was ringing. A call was extended for him to serve as a regional representative, a position in which he was serving at the time he was called as a General Authority.

   "I have received so many blessings and witnessed so many miracles that I havealways felt a strong desire to devote my life to serving the Lord," Elder Melchin said.

   The blessings and miracles began early in his life. At age 3, a priesthood blessing restored him to health when he nearly died from pneumonia.

 He has seen the power of the priesthood bless his own family. Before he was called as a bishop, one of his daughters was born with a difficult heart situation. "We thought we were going to lose her," Elder Melchin said. "Through the priesthood, blessed her, and I knew instantly she would be well. Although doctors did not think she would live, she is married and raising a family. I have learned the Lord can do anything He wishes to do."

   Elder Melchin recalled a period of great financial difficulty he and his brother encountered in their auto transport business when they had to expand the size of trailers in order to conform to new government regulations.

   "The banker and finance company told us to quit the business," Elder Melchin said. "We didn't want to give up, but we were concerned about our financial situation. We went to visit an old friend, our stake patriarch, who prayed with us and blessed us with peace of mind. He said, "I can promise you that if you serve the Lord at all times, you will prosper. It may take time, but you will prosper.' I determined then that whatever the Lord asked me to do, I would do it."

    Elder Melchin's call to the First Quorum of the Seventy was for a period of five years. When the Second Quorum was established for Seventy serving such calls, he was transferred to that quorum on April 1, 1989. Elder Melchin faithfully served his five-year call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy and was honorably released October 1, 1994.

   Following his tenure as a General Authority, Elder Melchin continued to serve the Lord as President of the Toronto Ontario Temple from 1993 to 1996.

   "News of the Church: Elder Gerald E. Melchin...," Ensign Nov. 1988
   Gerry Avant, "Ex-Dance Director Takes Call 'One Step at a Time'," LDS Church News Archives, Nov. 19, 1988
   “The Sustaining of Church Officers,” Ensign, May 1989, p.17
   “The Solemn Assembly Sustaining of Church Officers,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, p.4
   2005 Church Almanac, p.85

Hosted by The Dimension's Edge