Melvin Fitzgerald was born on February 4, 1937 in Franklin, Tennessee. He was the eighth child born to the late Elisha P. and Pinkie G. Fitzgerald.
Melvin was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Trinita Fitzgerald; sister, Fannie (“Sister”) Denson; brothers, Bolin Sr., Josephus, Emmett, Elisha Jr., and John Wesley Fitzgerald.
Melvin received his primary education in the historical African-American schools of the Williamson County School System. He attended the Fitzgerald Elementary School and graduated from the Franklin Training School in 1955. Melvin was drafted into the US Army six weeks after completing high school. He spent a total of fourteen years in active and Reserve military duty. Melvin retired in 1971 with the rank of Sergeant First Class.
On November 15, 1980 Melvin married the “love of his life” and soul mate Trinita Gloria Nicholson. Trinita was the oldest child of the late Winfred F. and Gloria E. Nicholson of Glen Burnie, Maryland. Trinita joined Melvin in Vanderbilt’s Biochemistry Department in June of 1979 as a Research Assistant. Melvin and Trinita shared and devoted their time to one another for twenty-five years of marriage until her sudden illness and death on August 3, 2005.
Melvin was an avid golfer and a voice in his community. In 1983 Melvin received the “Harry Guess Sportsmanship” Golf Award from the Ted Rhodes Foundation. Melvin also received a “Community Service” Award from Major Richard Fulton and the city of Nashville on September 10, 1983. Melvin was employed by Vanderbilt Hospital on March 12, 1957 after serving three years of active military duty. Melvin advanced his career at Vanderbilt by completing a course in “Supervisory Training” at the Medical School in 1967. Melvin spent 56 years at Vanderbilt in the Biochemistry Department and on October 31, 2013 he retired. Many referred to Melvin as “an institution within an institution” – walking from his office on the sixth floor of Light Hall down to the Medical Center Plaza, where he received many passersby’s smiles, waves and greetings by name. Melvin received several prestigious awards during his years of employment at Vanderbilt including the Commodore Award in 1996; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. award in January 2011; and 55 years of Service award in September of 2013. He also received both the 30 and 45 years Service awards.
In 1963 Melvin entered the field of entrepreneurship in real estate. Melvin has purchased, renovated, and rented many houses in the East Nashville and Franklin areas. In 1968 Melvin added Barbering and Cosmetology to his career. He worked as a part-time barber under Fletcher Hambright at the AZ Kelly Barber Shop on the corner of 14th and Buchanan Street for 33 years. Through professional training and experience, Melvin became one of the few Master Barbers of that time in Nashville.
Melvin’s memory will be cherished by his, brother, Alvin (Addie) Fitzgerald; many devoted, loving nieces and nephews; mother-in-law, Gloria E. Nicholson of Glen Burnie, MD; devoted sisters-in-law, Theresa Dawkins and Kristalyn (Curtis) Johnson both of Glen Burnie, MD; brother-in-law, Winfred F. (Betsy) Nicholson, Jr. of Ashburn, VA.; a host of relatives, friends, neighbors, and former co-workers.
Visitation with the family will be from 1:00PM until 3:00PM on Tuesday April 20, 2021 at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home. A Private Family Graveside Service with Military Honors will be held following the Visitation at Fitzgerald Memorial Gardens with Pastor Brandon Mason officiating. Nephews will serve as pallbearers and nieces will serve as floral bearers. WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, 615-794-2289. www.williamsonmemorial.com