Lonnie Melashenko
Holy Land Tour

Tributes to Elder Joe Melashenko:

 

Joe MelashenkoElder Joe Melashenko, former pastor-evangelist-musician, passed away on June 21 at the age of 91 (January 10, 1922 - June 21, 2013). Memorial services took place July 21. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Voice of Prophecy and/or Quiet Hour radio ministries.

Elder Joe Melashenko was an evangelist with the Voice of Prophecy media ministry for more than two decades. H. M. S. Richards called him the “basso profundo in excelsis.” Listen as Joe Melashenko sings Lead Me Gently Home, Father.

Lonnie’s Tribute to His Dad

Joe MelashenkoMy dear Dad just passed away this morning. A prince and a great man has fallen in Israel. He left like he lived. Quietly. Graciously. With gentle dignity. Without demands or harsh words or even a frown, he surrendered himself – a tired, frail, humble gentleman – into the waiting arms of his Savior. Death, selfish and cursed enemy of man, won another battle.

But wait! Psalm 116:15 clearly states, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” And Revelation 14:13 adds, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth...They rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”

Rudy called at 3:24 this morning (Friday, June 21, 2013) and left a message on my cell phone (we’re here in South Lancaster, Massachusetts for camp meeting appointments this weekend) – “the dreaded call,” he indicated. “He’s done. He’s done. Our dear Dad just passed away.” Rudy was with him at the very end at 2:15 singing songs. A precious time. A sacred time. “A time to keep.”

Dad’s works do follow him. For millions of radio/TV listeners Dad was a special “basso profundo in excelsis” as H.M.S. Richards used to call him. With his big bass voice and giant bear hugs he came into our lives; he left footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same. He was my hero. Larger than life. What a great father. I salute the life of this Herculean spiritual giant, a modern ambassador for his best Friend, Jesus. His integrity and magnanimity, his deeply spiritual faith and old-fashioned values. His incredible gift communicating Jesus through sermons in song together with his wife and five sons – Lonnie, Joedy, Dallas, Eugene and Rudy -- the “Singing Joe Melashenko family.” His ministry as “The Gospel Singer” bridged culture, age, gender, ethnicity and reached across to audiences spiritual and pagan alike. Hard working. Honest. He loved his family. He loved his wife Anne. He loved his church.

Rudy called me from the Hospice Center in Paradise Tuesday night and put the speaker phone in Dad’s ear for me to “say Good-Bye” and hear Dad attempt to speak. Just heavy breathing with a deep rattling in his throat. Not the Dad I remember. But now he is finally at rest. Asleep. Taking a well-deserved nap from the Kindergarten of this life before he hears the call of the Lifegiver and resurrection to the University of the Hereafter. That’s the next voice he’ll hear: “Joe! It’s time to wake up!” Yes, Jeannie and I are weeping, but we thank God for “The Blessed Hope” without which we would be most miserable. Thank you Dad, for being a living legend and for your generous life’s testimony. You touched my heart. You touched my life. And I am eternally grateful.

Good bye, Dad. Sleep well. See you in the morning.

By Lonnie Melashenko,
Written Friday, June 21, 2013

Seventh-day Adventist Church, North American Division Tribute to Joe Melashenko

Joe MelashenkoLong time evangelist and Gospel recording artist Elder Joe Melashenko died on Friday, June 21, 2013 in Paradise, California at the age of 91. Memorial services take place in Paradise on Sunday, July 21 at 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Voice of Prophecy or Quiet Hour radio broadcast ministries.

During the I940s Canadian radio broadcasters dubbed Joe “The Voice of the Deep” as audiences nationwide thrilled to hear his unique bass voice during live call-in shows raising money for Tuberculosis during World War II. Raised on a farm in Saskatchewan Joe recalls milking a dozen cows and keeping time in ¾ or 4/4 rhythm as he sang. “The cows seemed to produce more milk as a result of my singing.”

From 1948 to 1950 Joe sang bass with the King’s Heralds Quartet on the “Voice of Prophecy” international radio broadcast in Glendale, California. Throat surgery forced him to make a difficult decision and move his growing family of five sons back to Saskatchewan where he taught public school and farmed his parents’ homestead and wheat farm. However, in 1957 Joe was called into singing evangelism ministry in Massachusetts. He was ordained in 1961 in Bermuda, after which he pastored in Hagerstown, Maryland and Rialto, California. In the 1970s after serving with Evangelist Byron Spears as singing evangelist for Voice of Prophecy, Joe and his wife Anne formed their own evangelistic team for VOP and for a dozen years traveled extensively throughout the western hemisphere conducting evangelistic campaigns in Joe’s unique, inimitable way: sermons-in-song. As often as he could, he and Anne featured their five sons in their family’s septet which included Lonnie, Joedy, Dallas, Eugene and Rudy.

Joe Melashenko, always proud of his Canadian heritage and passport, arranged for many of his evangelistic campaigns to be conducted in Canada, with Ebenezers stretching from British Columbia across all the provinces to the Maritimes.

Joe’s teaching career began following matriculation at Canadian Union College and Saskatoon Teacher’s Institute at the University of Saskatchewan. Besides teaching in Regina public schools, he taught in a number of small one-room schools in the farmlands west of Saskatoon as well as Rosthern and Arelee.

Joe and Anne together with their five sons emigrated to the United States and moved to the Atlantic Union Conference in the summer of 1957 when Joe was called by Merle L. Mills of the Southern New England Conference to be a singing evangelist for Elder Dan Sherman Harris. They settled in Springfield, Massachusetts for two years while Joe traveled Conference-wide with a number of outstanding evangelists including Walter Schubert, Elman J. Folkenberg and Garnet Williams.

They moved to Taunton in 1959 to be closer to a major campaign in Providence, Rhode Island during which Joe served as pastor of the Foxboro-Brockton district. In 1960 the Bermuda Mission requested that Joe and his family move to Hamilton for major campaigns with George E. Vandeman, Roland K. Cemer and other evangelists. Conference President H. Reese Jenkins subsequently asked him to pastor the St. George church, during which time he was ordained to the ministry in 1962 – the very first Seventh-day Adventist pastor to be ordained in the islands of Bermuda because of British law and the state church’s (Anglican) historic policy. Joe developed radio and television programs as “The Bermuda Gospel Singer” heard island-wide every Sunday evening during live broadcasts.

Chesapeake Conference A.B. Butler invited Joe to move to Hagerstown, Maryland in 1963 to serve as senior pastor of the Hagerstown district which included the Pondsville and Smithsburg churches. For the next year Joe tirelessly launched several evangelistic campaigns in his three churches, while also assisting in other evangelistic endeavors throughout the conference. His family performed numerous times at musical concerts, evangelistic campaigns, programs at the Union office and world headquarters in Washington D.C.

In the summer of 1964 Elder John Osborn, President of Southeastern California Conference called Joe to join Elder Don Gray as a newly formed evangelistic team located near Loma Linda. Together they worked with Elder Lloyd Wyman at the newly purchased Azure Hills Country Club to conduct meetings and plant a brand new church in the Inland Empire. Subsequent campaigns throughout the conference resulted in thrilling experiences until Joe was asked to pastor the Rialto Church. Membership zoomed as Joe’s magnetic personality and giant Russian bear hugs charmed people into the church. Joe thought of innovative ways to involve church members in drama presentations and creative expressions of worship. He once climbed aboard an 18-wheeler to accompany a truck driver Bible study “interest” who was having difficulty kicking the smoking habit. Joe rode to the East coast and back in order to assist him in a personalized 5-Day Stop Smoking clinic – and baptized him when they returned from the East Coast.

Following a dozen years as evangelist for the Voice of Prophecy Joe served in the Central California Conference as an evangelist until his retirement when Joe and Anne moved to Paradise, California where they lived until Anne’s death in 2009. Declining in physical health due to cancer, Joe enjoyed his final four years living with full-time care provided by his youngest son Rudy. He leaves to mourn his loss his five sons and their families, including a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Footprint of Joe Melashenko

Joe MelashenkoLong time pastor, evangelist and Gospel recording artist Elder Joe Melashenko died on Friday, June 21, 2013 in Paradise, California at the age of 91.

During the I940s Canadian radio broadcasters dubbed Joe “The Voice of the Deep” as audiences nationwide thrilled to hear his unique bass voice during live call-in shows raising money for Tuberculosis during World War II. Raised on a farm in Saskatchewan Joe recalls milking a dozen cows and keeping time in 3 / 4 or 4 / 4 rhythm as he sang. “The cows seemed to produce more milk as a result of my singing.”

From 1948 to 1950 Joe sang bass with the King’s Heralds Quartet on the “Voice of Prophecy” international radio broadcast in Glendale, California. Throat surgery forced him to make a difficult decision and move his growing family back to Saskatchewan where he taught public school and farmed his parents’ homestead and wheat farm. Joe’s teaching career began following matriculation at Canadian Union College and Saskatoon Teacher’s Institute at the University of Saskatchewan. He taught in a number of small one-room schools in the farmlands west of Saskatoon.

Joe and Anne together with their five sons emigrated to the United States and moved to Southern New England Conference in the summer of 1957 when they settled in Springfield, Massachusetts while Joe traveled Conference-wide with a number of outstanding evangelists.

In 1960 the Bermuda Mission requested that Joe and his family move to Hamilton for major campaigns with George E. Vandeman. The Bermuda Mission subsequently asked him to pastor the St. George church, during which time he was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1962. Joe developed radio and television programs as “The Bermuda Gospel Singer” heard islandwide every Sunday evening during live broadcasts.

The Chesapeake Conference invited Joe to move to Hagerstown, Maryland in 1963 to serve as senior pastor of the Hagerstown district. For the next year Joe tirelessly launched several evangelistic campaigns in his three churches, while also assisting in other evangelistic endeavors throughout the conference. His family performed numerous times at musical concerts, evangelistic campaigns, programs at the Union office and world headquarters in Washington D.C.

In the summer of 1964 Elder John Osborn, President of Southeastern California Conference called Joe to join Elder Don Gray as a newly formed evangelistic team located near Loma Linda. Together they worked with Elder Lloyd Wyman at the newly purchased Azure Hills Country Club to conduct meetings and plant a brand new church in the Inland Empire. Today, the Azure Hills Church is one of the largest SDA Churches in Southern California. Subsequent campaigns throughout the conference resulted in thrilling experiences until Joe was asked to pastor the Rialto Church. Membership zoomed as Joe’s magnetic personality and giant Russian bear hugs charmed people into the church. Joe thought of innovative ways to involve church members in drama presentations and creative expressions of worship. He once climbed aboard an 18-wheeler to accompany a truck driver Bible study “interest” who was having difficulty kicking the smoking habit. Joe rode to the East coast and back in order to assist him in a personalized 5-Day Stop Smoking clinic, then baptized him when they returned from the East Coast.

In the 1970s after serving with Evangelist Byron Spears as singing evangelist for Voice of Prophecy, Joe and his wife Anne formed their own evangelistic team for VOP and for a dozen years traveled extensively throughout the US and Canada, conducting evangelistic campaigns in Joe’s unique, inimitable way: sermons-in-song. As often as he could, he and Anne featured their five sons in their family’s septet.

Joe served in the Central California Conference as an evangelist for 4 years until his retirement. Joe and Anne retired in Paradise, California where they lived until Anne’s death in 2009. Declining in physical health due to cancer, Joe enjoyed his final four years living with his youngest son, Rudy, who was his full-time caregiver. He leaves to mourn his loss his five sons, their families, 9 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Program from the July 21, 2013 Memorial Service of Joe Melashenko  (PDF)

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