Melvin Lawrence French

Passed away on January 31, 2019

Melvin French of Fieldale, passed away on January 31 after a year and half long battle with Leukemia. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Many in the community will remember him as “Papa French” from the Space Odyssey Game Room, where he offered advice, mentored local youth, and challenged many to games of pool. He was a loyal friend and was always willing to offer support in any way he could. Melvin was born and lived his entire life in Fieldale, Virginia. He graduated from Fieldale High School and Coyne Electrical School. Melvin proudly served in the United States Army and was stationed in Alaska and New Jersey. In 2000, Melvin retired from State Electronics, formerly known as Womack Electronics. He was a member of Fieldale Baptist Church and served as President of Fieldale–Collinsville Rescue Squad from 1982 until 1989. He was a Past President of Henry County Rescue Squad Association, and was Scout Master to Boy Scout Troop 73. He is survived by his wife, Hattie Fulcher French of the home; a daughter, Lori French Bailey of Matthews, NC; a son, Brian French of Portland, OR; one granddaughter, Caroline Bailey; a brother-in-law, Vance Fulcher, Jr.; a sister-in-law, Mary Page Jackson; and his brother, Raeburn French, along with many beloved nephews, nieces, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence French and Iva Helms French; parents-in-law, Vance Fulcher, Sr. and Alice Carter Fulcher; son-in-law, Robert Bailey, and nephew, Duane Fulcher. Visitation will be Sunday, February 10th at 2 PM, followed by a memorial service at 3 PM at Fieldale Baptist Church, officiated by Rev. Allen Jackson and Rev. George Hearn. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to Fieldale Baptist Church, P.O. Box 98, Fieldale, VA 24089, or to Fieldale-Collinsville Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 760, Collinsville, VA. 24078. The family wishes to extend a heartfelt thanks to the nurses and staff of Ravenel Oncology, Lewis Gale Hospital 6-West, UNC Cancer Clinic and Mountain Valley Hospice for the kind and thoughtful care Melvin received.


  • Visitation Sunday, February 10, 2019
  • Memorial Service Sunday, February 10, 2019

Melvin Lawrence French

have a memory or condolence to add?

Douglas Griffith

February 18, 2019

To the French family,
I remember well when Melvin and his brother were living on tenth street at the top of Pine Street. I live at 240 Tenth Street and visited your house many times.
Lot of fond memories of those days.

So sorry to hear the passing of Melvin. I move to California in 1963 and still live here.
Douglas Griffith
2933 Hopeton Rd
La Crescenta, CA 91214

Stanley Palmer

February 7, 2019

Back in the days when I was in the rescue squad, I spent many a lot of times with Melvin. He was very dedicated to the squads of Henry county and he will be missed by many.

Linda Padgett Fry

February 5, 2019

I remember Mr. French fondly from my youth spent at Fieldale Baptist Church. I loved Mr. and Mrs. French who were always there for our many church-sponsored activities. My love and prayers go to Mrs. French, Lori, and Brian. He was such a wonderful man and will be missed.

Brian Gilley

February 4, 2019

My heart is saddened to hear of this great wonderland mans passing. My entire teenage years was spent at Space Odyssey if nothing else just to sit and listen to your wisdom advice and points of view. You and your wife had such an incredible influence and impact on so many kids teenagers in the 80s. You will never know just how much you was missed when Space Odyssey closed its doors for the last time. May God bless this family during their loss along with so many of us who will never forget you.
Godspeed and until....

Karen Harrell

February 4, 2019

So many great memories of the weekends spent at Space Odyssey with Ma and Pa French. They gave all the local kids a safe place to go and kept an eye on us. They loved us as much as we loved them. Much love and prayers to the family.

Gene Hall

February 4, 2019

Moma and Papa French also had thousands of adopted kids in Martinsville and Henry county and a stepbrother Brian. The Frenchs were so kind and protective over all the kids in the community. Love y'all so much. GOD HAS RECEIVED A PERFECT ANGEL. GOD BLESS.

Brian Weaver

February 4, 2019

If you hung out at Space Odyssey, you knew Ma and Pa French. Pa French was like a second father to everyone that he came in contact with. He was a great man.I am thankful that he cared enough to provide a place for us to hang and just be kids. You will be missed, Pa.

Todd Haynes

February 4, 2019

If you were a child of the 80's and lived in the Henry Co. Area, there was only one place to meet on the weekend thanks to the French's. It kept many a teenager out of trouble. Mr. And Mrs. French and Brian always cared and loved us all no matter what school you were from or number of quarters in your pocket. Love to the family.

LaVon Overton

February 3, 2019

I played with Melvin and Raeburn when we were kids and lived on 10th street in Fieldale. Sorry to hear of his passing.
May God bless his family.