Kenneth Melichar | Obituary | Record Eagle

May 29, 1946 – –
March 25, 2021

Kenneth E. Melichar, 74, of Traverse City, died on March 25, 2021 of a cerebral haemorrhage. He was born in Lewistown, Mont. on May 29, 1946 to parents Virginia and Ed Melichar. In addition to his parents, he grew up with two brothers, Leslie and Donald and sister Beatrice, on a farm near Moore, Mont. where he learned to appreciate vigilante groups. His parents and brother Leslie died before him.
He proudly served with the United States Marines from 1966 to 1969.
In 1972, he married his wife, Barbara, who followed him from one end of the United States to the other in search of higher education. You raised a daughter, Leah.
Ken devoted himself to lifelong learning, graduating from the University of Montana with a BA in Sociology in 1972. with an MA in Sociology from the University of Wyoming in 1975; with an MA and Ph.D. in sociology at New York University in 1982 and 1985; with an Ed.S. in adult education from the University of Georgia in 1991; and an MA in Native American Studies from the University of Georgia in 2009. His areas of specialization have been Sociological Theory, Social Inequality, Holocaust, Adult Education, and Native American Studies.
From 1981 to 2012 he taught sociology at Piedmont University in Demorest, Georgia. He was the college’s associate vice president of academic affairs and planning from 2005 to 2012 when he retired to Traverse City.
Reading, golf, basketball, hockey, and illegal country music were among his interests.
In 2016 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and later developed dementia.
The family would like to thank the Life Beyond Barriers staff for the therapy, which they thoroughly enjoyed. They also want to acknowledge and thank the nurses and doctors at Munson Medical Center for their compassionate care for him at the end of his life.
He will be remembered as a devoted husband and father with an evil sense of humor. As he said, “Genius is pain.”
Donations in Ken’s memory can be made to Piedmont University through their website at

Published on April 14, 2021

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