Melvin L. Belt, aged 75, of Hagerstown, Indiana and formerly of Mercer, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully at home with family on October 19, 2022.
Melvin was born on July 20, 1947, to Philip and Carol Belt ( Beeson ) in Henry County, Indiana. A graduate of Hagerstown High School, Class of 1965, he entered military service during the Vietnam Conflict in the United States Army from 1966 to 1968. During those years of service, he married the love of his life, Julia Sharp, on November 12, 1967.
Melvin worked for Chrysler until his retirement in 2001, after 35 years of service. Most weekends would see Melvin fishing competitively, beginning in the mid 1970’s with the Brookville Bass Club, leading to many tournament wins and records across the decades, including back-to-back Indiana Bassmaster State Championships in 1986 and 1987 which earned him the moniker of “The Great Mel Belt” and cemented his legendary status among his peers. Every Summer would see family vacations to the U.P / Wisconsin area to fish, from sun-up to sun-down. After retirement, he and Julia moved to Mercer, Wisconsin to pursue fishing full time, running a successful fishing guide service in the Summer on the Flambeau Flowage, and was elected as President of the Mercer Area Sno-Goers, grooming and riding the trails in the Winter for several years. Melvin was also an accomplished artist which he pursued with a renewed passion after retirement, with several painted works appearing in magazines and calendars. Melvin was a member and past Officer of Cambridge Lodge #5, F&AM. In October of 2020, as his health declined, he and Julia moved home to Hagerstown to be closer to family.
Melvin is survived by his loving wife of nearly 55 years, Julia, son Michael (Sylvia) Belt and daughter Stephanie (Daron) Shaul of Hagerstown, IN, daughter Kathryn (Luke) Wanta of Tomahawk, WI, and niece Vicky (Tony) Alexander of Connersville, IN. His wisdom and wit will be greatly missed by his grandchildren, Jon ( Zameyka ) Belt, James Belt, Courtney Belt, Eleana Shaul, Kevin Belt, Ethan Shaul, Eli Shaul, Mercer Wanta, Easton Shaul and Sofie Wanta, and step-grandchildren Mary Ames, Cole Wanta, Eliyah Ames, Evan Wanta, David Ames and Jasmine Ames, and three great-grandchildren.
Melvin was preceded in death by his father, Philip Belt, step-father James Robinson, mother Carol Robinson, and brother Steven Belt.
Visitation will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, at Culberson Funeral Home, Hagerstown. Services will follow at 1:00 PM. Interment will follow at Jacksonburg Cemetery.. Online condolences may be left at www.culbersonfh.com
Donations may be made in memoriam to the Wounded Warrior Project at https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/. For our family and friends who fish, in lieu of donations, we ask that you buy a child a fishing pole and teach them to fish, to carry on Melvin’s legacy and love for the sport.