Andrew J. Melillo (1939 – 2011)
August 23, 1939 in Newark NJ, Andrew J. Melillo, is the son of Scotch
and Italian parentage. At the age of 17 he joined the US. Navy from 1956
to 1960 and served most of his time, as Chief Petty Officer at the
Clooney Naval Base in Derry, Northern Ireland. Assigned to the radio
communications unit, he had considerable association with the people of
Derry; it is also where he met his loving wife Dora Doherty Melillo.
A Senior Clerk
with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Andy retired in 2002 and quickly
returned to his adopted home in Derry, Northern Ireland.
Derry family and connections, Andy was acutely aware of the injustices
that were being handed down upon the Irish people by an oppressive
British state. As a result Andy spent many evenings walking the picket
line in front of the British Consulate on Third Avenue and anywhere else
people were needed to be a presence.
Along with his
wife, Dora, and many others, they started the New Jersey Chapter of The
Irish American Unity Conference. The IAUC was a very successful
organization in making the general public aware of the many human rights
violations occurring throughout the six counties. Their first symposium
included addresses by many dignitaries at the time, including Richard
Harvey, Esq., Monsignor Kevin Flanagan and Elizabeth O'Hara.
worked hand in hand with another support group named, Concerned Women.
The Concerned Women's main platform was to provide support to the
families of republican prisoners.
Andy would have
been considered a friend and colleague of many of the previous
recipients of this honor, having shared his home in South Orange for
many events that may not have been considered mainstream in the eyes of
to the Irish cause carried through to his retirement years in Derry.
Andy was a civilian observer during the supergrass trial of informant
Raymond Gilmour and he became an Irish citizen where he very proudly
voted in the local elections. A host of prominent republican politicians
often visited his home on the Northland Road and were on hand to
accompany him for his first national vote.
being part of the Irish heritage, culture and struggle. He was very
proud of his Derry connections and family. He is fondly remembered as
the "Derry Yank".
Melillo passed away in Derry, Northern Ireland, on November 4, 2011. He
was the loving husband of Dora for 50 years; father of Drew and Lisa; a
loving grandfather to Aisling, Katie, Mollie, Steven, Patrick and Kevin;
dear father-in-law to David and Pauline; brother to Janice and Tommy and
uncle to many nieces and nephews.
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