By Kathleen Truelove
Dickeyville, a village along the Gwynns Falls dating from the late 17th century, was the logical place for Michele and John Melville to live and so they did for 40 years. His ancestor, another John Melville, had been the mill superintendent at the Ballymena Mill there. The mill made woolen cloth for both sides during the Civil War and was closed by the Union troops for selling to the Confederates.
Michele grew up in St. Mary's City in southern Maryland and moved to Baltimore for college, first at Goucher and then at UMBC, majoring in biology. She met John when both were at Walter Reed on Summer Science Research Scholarships. They were moved by the traumatized veterans they met at Walter Reed and bonded over their own pacifist views. Michele was raised as a Roman Catholic, John as a Unitarian, but both became Quakers and were married at the Sandy Spring (MD) Friends Meeting.
As her first job out of college, Michele worked in a molecular biology lab at Johns Hopkins, studying cancer cells' changes in DNA. Later, she taught young children at Friends School Baltimore for nine years before moving on to the Success for All program, where she developed curriculum, wrote Head Start teacher's scripts to implement language enrichment, and trained field trainers and Head Start teachers.
Michele later wrote science experiments for textbooks. She went to China for People to People to study young children, and, in 2010, she volunteered at the Baltimore County Detention Center, working with children and their incarcerated fathers in a literacy program.
There are two daughters, one in Upper Marlboro and another in Cockeysville who teaches at Friends School. Michele says FaceTiming with her four grandchildren, ranging in age from 1 to 8, is her hobby.