American Veteran 04


Melvin Lee DeGree

March 12, 1953 ~ November 30, 2018 (age 65)

Deacon Melvin Lee DeGree slipped away from us on Friday, November 30, 2018. He was born March 12, 1953 to the late Thomas L. DeGree and Elizabeth Bell. Melvin grew up in Shelby, North Carolina. He attended elementary and high school in Shelby, North Carolina.

With an unwavering passion for exploring the globe, Melvin began an early career in the Naval Branch of the United States Military from 1971 to 1974. After several years of active duty in the military, he became a member of the U.S. Department of Defense, to which he devoted over 40 years of service.  While defending our nation against foreign and domestic violence, Melvin exemplified heroism on the home front and abroad, and earned over eight medals and awards in the Vietnam War.

His hope to gain knowledge of different cultures was finally reached in 1974 when he entered a Navy Civilian career as a Merchant Marine on the USNS Regal. He travelled to six of the seven continents of the world (all except Antarctica). Some of the countries he visited were Russia, Egypt, Japan, China and Israel.  After years of sailing the seas, Melvin moved onto a position in the Security Department on the largest Naval Base in the world located in Norfolk, VA.

Melvin retired from the Department of Defense in 2011, and devoted himself to a cause greater than himself by helping the less fortunate through his missionary efforts in the church and community. At the United House of Prayer for All People in Burton, he served in many positions such as the Deacon Board, Male Usher Board, parking lot security, and worked in the kitchen as a dishwasher. Melvin truly enjoyed serving during our Sunday morning services. You would find him at the front door greeting members and friends with a smile.

Deacon Melvin DeGree leaves to cherish his memories; a loving wife Prezillia E. DeGree, daughter Ariel DeGree; four sisters-in-law: Ives Clark (Claude Clark, Sr.), Sandra Joyner, Zelda Joyner, of Chesapeake, VA, Helen Elliott, Virginia Beach, VA; two brothers-in-law:  Charlie Elliott, Jr. (Pamela Elliott), Virginia Beach, VA, and Daryl Joyner, Washington, D.C.; mother-in-law: Inez Joyner, Chesapeake, VA; six nieces, thirteen nephews, and a host of cousins and friends. He also leaves a special friend and brother, Gerald Steve, of Cleveland, Ohio.

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