WWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday

Image 1 of 4

A hero from our greatest generation is turning 100. His love and compassion for country and family are what's right with Tampa Bay.

World War II veteran John Melton was surrounded by family at High Point Church of Brandon to celebrate a major milestone - a century of life on earth.

Melton was born in Missouri. He met his wife, Nellie Mae in church and they were married in 1941. They had three children.

"What a faithful person," his daughter, Barbara Larsen said. "You could always count on him."

In 1942, Melton was drafted into the Army. He was deployed to Austria in 1944 to be an ambulance driver during the war. 

"It was just nasty," Melton remembered.

He said he and his fellow soldiers once got too close to battle with bombs landing all around them.

"Every little bit, one would go off and the ambulance would shake," he said.

After coming home from the war, Melton went to Michigan and got a job as an auto mechanic. 

"He was a hard worker, very regimented and quite strict on us girls," Barbara laughed. "He kept us out of trouble."

He would come home tired and fall asleep on the couch. His daughters would style his hair. 

"He'll wake up and he would have bobby pins in his hair and curlers in his hair, but he never got angry with us," said Barbara.

He always made his girls feel special.

"He used to read us Bible stories all the time, and he always took us to church. We spend a lot of time in church when we were little girls." Barbara said.

As they look back on his life, so far, John Melton's family is pleased to know there are more memories to come.