‘Snowy’ Melton dies at 90

Published 8:49 pm Monday, June 29, 2009

Earl “Snowy” Melton might be remembered most as Chilton County’s tax collector, but to refer to him by that title alone would not do him justice.

Melton, who died Saturday at age 90, was also a star athlete, served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and owned several area businesses.

“He never met a stranger,” said Troy Mims, Melton’s son-in-law. “He was always willing to help anybody in any way he could.”

Melton grew up in the Cedar Grove community south of Thorsby, attending Mt. Pleasant School and later Chilton County High School. In 1939, he helped lead the CCHS basketball team to the state championship.

It was in high school that Melton picked up the nickname “Snowy,” which comes from a basketball term, “snowbirding.” Snowbirding basically means sacrificing defensive effort as a way to score easy baskets.

Melton continued to play basketball in the Army Air Corps, where he served as an airplane mechanic.

“He talked about playing basketball on ships and when he was over in Guam,” Mims recalled. “He was real good.”

Before starting his own business, Melton worked at the cotton mill in Clanton. He went on to own the first franchised Dairy Queen in the state of Alabama, and also ran a service station and convenience store, Snowy’s Sav-a-Stop, in Clanton. He also owned a bowling alley.

Around 1970, Melton moved to the mouth of Walnut Creek to enjoy the outdoors. From 1973-1985, he served two six-year terms as Chilton County Tax Collector.

“He loved his family. He loved sports, fishing and hunting; he just loved life,” Mims said.

Melton was a longtime member of Liberty Hill Baptist Church. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia Melton; daughter, Pat (Doug) Coe; son-in-law, Troy Mims; four grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by wife, Lorene Melton, and daughter, Judy Melton Mims.

Services were held Monday at Liberty Hill Baptist Church.