BLOOMSBURG, Pa. — Members of the Bloomsburg University community remember a second-year student who died over the weekend.
Curtis L. Melville III, 19, died Friday, Oct. 4 due to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident that occurred early morning near Danville. The accident did not involve any drugs, alcohol, or foul play, according to the obituary.
Scott Lynn, Montour County coroner, said Melville fell asleep while driving back to campus alone from a concert in State College when his Ford F-150 struck a parked tractor trailer.
He was rushed to Geisinger Medical Center but died late-afternoon with his parents by his side.
Dione D. Somerville, vice president for student affairs, sent BU students a notice at 10 a.m. the following day.
One student, a classmate to Melville, described it as a “total shock.”
“I couldn’t believe what I was reading on Saturday morning,” recounted Chris Kilcullen, who first met Curtis this semester in the Video Production 1 course.
News of Melville’s untimely death similarly stunned his former high school peers.
Lizzie Baeder, who, like Melville, graduated from Spring-Ford Area High School in 2018, shared on Facebook: “We lost a friend that we never thought we’d have to say goodbye [to].”
Talent ‘Quickly Realized’
Melville had a knack for video.
This semester, he started work as a videographer for Bloomsburg University Sports Network, where he had already become an invaluable member of the team in the short time he was there.
Larry Zapotocky, BUSN manager, worked with Melville during a football production and remembers him as an eager learner who enjoyed sharing information with the other students.
Such knowledge was noted also by Kilcullen, who expressed Melville was “one of the few students who always had an answer during video production lectures.”
Because they sat next to each other in class, the two found themselves working together on the first video project, which was to film a short sequence. Kilcullen says it was Melville who came up with the concept for the short. In it, Kilcullen acts while Melville films and their classmate Sarah Erie directs.
Kilcullen praised Melville’s work, saying, “I could tell he had a passion and a keen, developing eye for camera work and production.”
Adam Hower, a video production specialist at BUSN, felt Melville’s passion, too, adding that he was an “excellent addition” to the staff.
“After the first game he worked for us, his talent was quickly realized as we had him operate a shoulder-mounted sideline camera for the second football game, where he once again excelled,” shared Hower.
It was fitting, then, that a moment of silence was called to honor Melville’s life–along with that of BU freshman Justin P. King, who died last month–before kickoff at Saturday’s home football game against Kutztown University.
Remembering him as an enthusiastic member of the team, BUSN plans to honor Melville’s memory in future productions.
“Curtis,” said Hower, “will surely be missed by everyone in our staff.”
Kind and Giving Spirit
Perhaps the only thing more impressive than Melville’s videography skills was the magnitude of his generosity.
Even those individuals, such as Kilcullen, who’ve spent several weeks–at most–with Melville are quick to point out his genuine nature.
“It’s going to feel strange and surreal when we go back to class and find his seat empty. I’m deeply saddened by his passing and my thoughts were with his family and friends, who must be absolutely devastated by his loss.”
He reflects, “As short a time as it may have been, I’m glad that I got to know him and work with him. Curtis will be missed.”
“Friends, family and many strangers were the fortunate recipients of his generous soul as Curtis always [strived] to help those who were in need,” according to the obituary.
The legacy of Melville’s selflessness didn’t end with his death. With the support of the staff at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, his wish to donate his organs was fulfilled, saving the lives of others while he “passed peacefully up to Heaven.”
A public memorial service for Curtis will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. at St. Theresa of Calcutta Church in Schwenksville.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donations to Boy Scout Troop 10 to fund a scholarship in Curtis’ honor. Envelopes will be available at church and can be mailed to St. James United Church of Christ, c/o BSA Troop 10, 321 S. Limerick Road, Limerick, PA 19468.
While Curtis died much too soon, his life serves as a model to those he left behind, epitomizing the well-known quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“It is not length of life, but depth of life.”
Counseling support is available for BU students. More information about the Center for Counseling and Human Development can be found online, and anyone may call the 24-hour Tapline at 800-222-9016.
Featured image courtesy of Facebook/Tara Melville.