Obituary: Melvin N. Lash, 86, Air Force Colonel

Melvin N. Lash, 86, of Newport, RI, formerly of Fall River, MA and Barrington, RI, passed away on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at the Village House in Newport, RI, in the loving arms of his wife of sixty-two years, Sheila M. (Lyth) Lash.

Melvin was born in Fall River, the son of the late David and Florence (Levine) Lash. A graduate of Tabor Academy, Class of 1945, he went on to earn his Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Boston University School of Management in 1949. Following graduation, Melvin proudly served his country as a member of the United States Air Force, attaining the rank of Colonel. He was stationed in London, England during the Korean Conflict, and there he met his future Yorkshire bride, whom he brought home to Fall River to wed.

He entered the family finance business, Lash Acceptance Corp, working with his father in both Providence and Fall River, helping post-war businesses to get back on their feet. The business changed to automobile and home lending and thrived till Melvin retired in 1994. Continuing his military career in the Reserves, Melvin stayed very active as an Air Force Academy liaison for the Fall River area. He was also a member of the Board of Directors at the Quequechan Club and was a past President and Chairman of the Board at the Fall River Marine Museum.

Melvin was an avid mariner. He bought his beloved wooden, Maine-built, Penobscot 42' trawler in 1970, and named her the "PENCHANT". She became a huge focus in his life, and he and his growing family spent many joyful days and nights aboard her. He loved the boat dearly and worked on her constantly, and he could be found on any given day, for years to come, on the dock, dressed in khakis, cap on head, pipe in mouth, holding tools or varnish, while enjoying a good chat with a stranger or a friend. Always with a small poodle, named either Pooh or Annie, by his side. Mel served as Commodore of the Goat Island Yacht Club in Newport and later as an active member of the Coasters Harbor Naval Yacht Club in Newport. He was a well-known character on the Newport waterfront, and he and his beloved Sheila continued to spend long summers living aboard their yacht, happily entertaining their many live-aboard neighbors well into the warm summer nights, alongside the dock. His friends on and around the oceans are too many to count. They will surely raise a glass to Melvin: good friend, generous neighbor, true gentleman and devoted yachtsman.

Survivors, in addition to his wife, Sheila, include his two daughters: Gillian Lash Perlinski and her husband Chester (Pearl), of Alexandria, VA, and Alison R. Rode and her husband Mitchell, of Berryville, VA; his two grandchildren: Nathan and Amelia Rode; his sister: Irene Olsen of West Palm Beach, FL; his three nephews: Richard Licht, and Larry and Andrew Polin; and his niece: Andrea Finkel. He was preceded in death by his dear son, Jonathan D. (JD) Lash, and his sister, Dorothy Polin.

Funeral Information

His funeral service will be held on Friday, May 9th, at 11am at the Temple Beth El, 385 High Street, Fall River, with burial with military honors to follow, in the Temple Beth El Cemetery, Fall River. Relatives and all friends are invited to attend. All arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Hathaway Home for Funerals, 1813 Robeson Street, Fall River.

Donations Information

Donations in Melvin's memory may be made to the Seaman's Church Institute, 18 Market Square, Newport, RI 02840.


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