Cover photo for Melvin Leonard Nowlin's Obituary
Melvin Leonard Nowlin Profile Photo
1960 Melvin 2022

Melvin Leonard Nowlin

September 22, 1960 — December 30, 2022

Melvin (Mel) Leonard Nowlin, 62, of Big Island, Virginia unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord Friday, December 30, 2022.  His life was too short, but it was a very rich and full life as evidenced by his hands being in a thousand different pots, and usually all at the same time. We cannot begin to do justice to this special, wonderful man and his contributions to the world in just these few following paragraphs.

Mel was a graduate of Virginia Military Institute. He held a Master’s degree from the University of Virginia and a doctorate degree in Chemistry from Emory University.  He taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy and at Central Virginia Community College.

Mel and his family moved to Bedford County in 2001 after a career in the Air Force where he was stationed at several bases including Dayton, OH, Colorado Springs, CO, and Albuquerque, NM.  Mel worked at C.B. Fleet Laboratories, BWX Technologies, Inc., and as a Paramedic for Bedford County Department of Fire and Rescue.  In addition to his professional pursuits, he volunteered for his church home St. John’s Episcopal Church, Big Island Volunteer Fire Company, and the Emergency Crews of Big Island, Campbell County, and BWX Technology.  He accomplished all of that in addition to building a beautiful home and maintaining a farm.

Mel loved to travel and was planning trips to Greece and Scotland in 2023.  He had a love of camping that he built during his childhood.  He was an avid runner and outdoorsman.  He loved to bike and hike, and was training to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.  Mel and his family traveled to many National Parks and areas of interest while living around the country.  He loved to talk to children about his interests such as firefighting.  He attended many soccer games, tennis matches, track meets, and band competitions during his children’s youth.  He loved playing tricks on folks and everyone who knew him, knows that trademark laugh/guffaw/giggle.  He cracked himself up!

Mel is survived and will be greatly missed by his loving wife, Martha Paxton Nowlin, his three daughters and their spouses, Sara (Greg) Hall of Columbus, OH, Theresa (Michael) Peregoff of Chesapeake, VA and Kimberly (Lacy) Burnette of Goodview, VA.; granddaughter Elizabeth Burnette; sister Joann (JD) Sprouse; brother Gary (Maryellen) Nowlin; brother-in-law David (Vicki) Paxton, Joseph (Annette) Paxton, James (Hilda) Paxton and a host of much beloved nephews and nieces as well as his faithful four legged companion, Andy.  He was preceded in death by his father, Donald Minor Nowlin, mother Virginia Clayton Nowlin, and brother Alan Ray Nowlin.

A visitation will be held Thursday, January 5, 2023, from 6 – 8 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bedford.  A memorial service will be held on Friday, January 6, 2023, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bedford at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to St. John’s Episcopal Church, 314 N. Bridge Street, Bedford, VA 24523 or to Big Island Volunteer Fire Company, P. O. Box 122, Big Island, VA 24526.

To send condolences, please visit Tharp Funeral Home, Bedford is assisting the family.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Melvin Leonard Nowlin, please visit our flower store.


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