James David Melton, Jr., M.D. (Jim), of Lakeland, Florida, passed away peacefully on October 9, 2021. Jim was 87 years old.
He was a Florida native, born in Jacksonville, to Bessie Young and James David Melton. He attended Fletcher High School in Jacksonville, where he played basketball. He attended Emory University and Emory Medical School in Georgia. At Emory, he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and Phi Chi Medical Society. Jim met his wife, Diane, while they were students; him in medical school and her in nursing school. They were married in Atlanta in 1958. He earned his degree in medicine in 1959. He interned at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta and Grady Memorial Hospital in general surgery. He did his orthopedic residency at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem, the Veterans Administration Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware and the Alfred I. DuPont Institute for Crippled Children.
After residency, he joined Clark And Daughtrey Medical Group in Lakeland 1964. In 1966, Jim was drafted into the Air Force and assigned as Chief of Orthopedic Surgery for the Air University Of Montgomery, Alabama. During his free time at Maxwell Air Force Base, he developed a passion for golf. In 1968, Jim returned to Lakeland to resume practice with Clark & Daughtrey. Jim was a member of American Medical Association, Florida Medical Association and Imperial Polk Medical Association. He served as the team doctor for Kathleen High School football team. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of Lakeland Regional Medical Center. He was in medical practice for 50 years, retiring in 2014. He was a past board member and commodore of the then Lakeland Yacht and Country Club, where enjoyed playing tennis with his wife and friends. He was also a member of the Lakeland Kiwanis Club.
Jim is survived by his loving wife, Diane, of 62 years, and his two children, James David Melton III (Laurie), and Laura Ann Melton. He is preceded in death by daughter, Lynda Susan and son Thomas Lanier Melton. He is survived by 7 grandchildren, James David Melton IV, (Chrissy), Cori Melton, Chandler Melton, John Pope Collins III, Rippey Lee Collins, Thomas Lanier Melton, Jr., and Juliagene Melton. A note of thanks to Jim’s wonderful helpers and caregivers, Dawn, Gloria, Darnie, and Marquita.
A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, October 12th, 2021 at 3 p.m. at Oak Hill Burial Park in Lakeland. Friends are invited after the service to his home, 14 Casa Loma Way, to share their special memories. Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.
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