Gwendolyn Elaine Melvin entered into eternal rest on Saturday, October 30, 2021, at the Gilchrist Center, Towson, MD. Born on July 23, 1926, in Spotsylvania County, VA she was the daughter of the late Rev. Chinor H. Coleman, Sr. and Gertrude Guss Coleman. She was preceded in death by her sister, Atlanta Collick and her brother, Chinor H. Coleman, Jr.
Gwen, as she was affectionately known, received Christ early in her youth. She was musically inclined and even played the piano in accompaniment to her mother’s voice in church recitals. In later years, she drifted away from playing the piano publicly, but was known to sit and play hymns in the family home. She also sang soprano as a member of the Senior Choir for many years at the Union Baptist Church in Turner Station, MD.
Gwen attended elementary school on Sparrows Point after the family moved there from Virginia in the early 1930s. The years spent on Sparrows Point were very influential and well loved by Gwen, as she cherished the life-long friendships she made in that historic community. Gwen went on to attend Dunbar High School in East Baltimore.
Some of Gwen’s early employment included working in the bath house at Carr’s Beach and Harley’s Sandwich Shop.
Gwen married Harry Bright in 1943. The union produced 3 children: Devera, Camer on, and Michele. The marriage was dissolved. In the summer of 1950, she met Earl Thomas Melvin. They were married on October 9th, 1951. From this union, 2 children were added to the family of 5: Wanda and Earl Christopher. Following the passing of Gwen’s brother, 2 of his children, Yvette and Chinor joined “Aunt Gwenie” and Uncle Earl’s home. Gwen had more than enough love for them all.
Gwen graduated from Coppin State Teachers College in 1962. Following graduation, she taught elementary school for 1 year, however, after becoming pregnant, she never returned to the classroom.
Gwen returned to the workforce in 1965 at what was then known as the Department of Social Services for the City of Baltimore, as a Social Worker. Gwen’s compassion, intellect and managerial skills eventually enabled her to obtain a supervisory position in what became the Department of Human Resources for the State of Maryland. She led a team in the Medical Assistance unit until her retirement in 1985.
Throughout her life, Gwen was a combination of grace, style, beauty, and humor. She joined a group of women in a social club called the “Champagnettes”. This was a great outlet from the pressures of life for her and fulfilled her call to give back. The club raised money and presented scholarships to students entering college. They accomplished their goals by sponsoring their infamous shopping trips to Reading, PA.
On those trips, Gwen would often model at least one hat she had purchased often adorned with at least one, as she put it – “go to hell” feather!
The other big fundraiser that Gwen absolutely loved was their annual dance. Gwen also enjoyed traveling, whether by cruise ship, plane or train.
Gwen’s last church home was Faith Baptist Church where Greggory R. Maddox is the Pastor. “Sister Gwen and Brother Earl” enjoyed attending Faith when their health permitted.
Gwen’s husband, Earl, and their many, many relatives and friends will welcome her in the eternal presence of our Heavenly Father, but she leaves to cherish her memory: daughters Devera Zainal, Michele Bland, Wanda Ward, and Yvette Coleman (a niece by blood, but a daughter by devotion); sons Cameron Bright and E. Christopher Melvin; nieces, Denise Coleman and Yvonne Carter; nephews, Avery Cannon and Chinor Coleman; grandchildren, Cerelle, Hasan, Tirani, Hakim, William, Kenneth, Meredith, Mosheh, and Kristin; and a host of great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, cousins and other relatives and friends, cousins and other relatives and friends.