Wrisley Funeral Home
90 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA 01373
Office: 413-665-4046             Fax: 413-665-0975
William W. Melnik
A celebration of Bill's life will be later this spring. The date, time and location will be announced. Memorial contributions may be made to the Deerfield Fire Department, 82 Old Main Street, Deerfield, 01342. Arrangements are under the direction of Wrisley Funeral Home in South Deerfield
William W. Melnik of Deerfield, 77, died on Sunday, January 24, 2021, at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA, after a period of failing health. His loving wife Sharon was holding his hand when he passed away. Bill was born at the Farren Memorial Hospital in Montague on October 27, 1943, to the late Walter and Mary (Trycinski) Melnik of Deerfield.

He grew up on his family's dairy farm in a part of town known as the Bars. As a boy he would fish with his father in Melnik's Brook and they would bring their catch home for dinner.

He learned how to drive a tractor when he was five years old and was a full fledged farmer by the time he'd reached his teens. He attended Old Deerfield Grammar School and graduated from Frontier Regional School in 1962.

A bruising fullback, he wore No. 11 and lettered all four years. He was All-Western Mass. and was named a tri-captain his senior year with Gus Peabody and Myron Rokoszak.

Bill and Sharon (LaValle) celebrated their 45th anniversary on January 10. They were wed at St. James Church in Greenfield, and had a raucous reception at the St. Kazimierz Society in Turners Falls.

"He offered me a job I couldn't refuse," said Sharon, referring to her busy role as a farm wife and mother of five children.

On humid July afternoons they'd picked sweet corn in the Field of Favors, eat lobster and drive to the Quonset Hut in Hadley to see the Eddie Forman Orchestra. Bill would light a cigar, order a CC and ginger and kick back to enjoy his favorite polka music.

"His smile, his blue eyes, his bear hug, the Paul Sebastian cologne, everywhere he went the women would swoon," Sharon remembered.

Farm life included knocks on the door from strangers who'd gotten stuck in the mud, and complaints from city folks who weren't accustomed to the aroma of fresh cow manure.

He'd rise at 3 a.m. to milk the cows and afterward return home for his daughters. "We'd go to Savage's Market for cocoa, then come back to do chores," said Kate. "The boys had to stay and work."

Billy was a member of the Greenfield Elks and the Turners Falls Rod and Gun Club. After he retired he bought a food truck and sold hot dogs north of the Gill-Montague Bridge. He called it Melly's Mutts, a name that was inspired by his friend Dave Baker who called him Melly.

He enjoyed fishing with his buddy Ed and playing rummy. They bought a home in Titusville, Florida, toured the state and played bocce with Bill and Gladys Jarvis, Fred and Paula Macdonald and Ed and Trish Kamansky.

Billy was good-natured and had the personal touch. At coffee stops like the Frontier Pharmacy and Jerry's Place in South Deerfield, the Shady Glen in Turners Falls and the Four Leaf in Bernardston, he considered everyone to be his friend. "They called him the mayor," said Sharon. Often times he hit all four in the same day, but the Glen was his favorite.

When the children got older and asked to use the car his response was either, "No" or "Use your head" or "Enough." The homestead became a haven for grandkids playing tag and going for rides in their grandfather's golf cart. "We had an open door policy at the Melnik compound," said Sharon. "He loved watching the children and grandchildren play sports. He was so proud of them."

His smile was genuine, his voice was soft. "He could start a conversation with anybody. His family were his friends, and his friends were his family."

Bill will always be missed by his children Daren (Kelly) of Deerfield, Kate (Keith James) of Turners Falls, Christopher (Elizabeth) of Dover, N.H., Kimberly (Mike LaRiviere) of Florence, and William Melnik Jr. (Angel) of Londonderry, N.H.

"His other two children are Brian Chyz and Amy Chyz," said Sharon. "He'd been their dad since their father Carl died."

Billy also leaves 13 grandchildren - Ashley, Christian, Taylor, Blake, Tom, Jaden, Sofia, Cole, Kaden, Konnor, Kylie, C.J., Lachlan, and his plus-one Dizarrie, together with many nieces and nephews.

He leaves a sister, Barbara Polidor and husband Todd of Somers, NY, and a brother, Steven Melnik and wife Kathy of Deerfield.

A celebration of Bill's life will be later this spring. The date, time and location will be announced. Memorial contributions may be made to the Deerfield Fire Department, 82 Old Main Street, Deerfield, 01342. Arrangements are under the direction of Wrisley Funeral Home in South Deerfield. Expressions of sympathy available at www.wrisleyfuneralhome.com