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Monday, November 22, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 65

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Businessman, benefactor LeRoy Melcher dead at 87 

Cougar News Staff

Funeral services were held Sunday for LeRoy Melcher, local businessman and UH benefactor. Melcher, 87, died in his sleep in his Southwest Houston home Thursday.

Melcher may be best known for his work at the helm of the UtoteM Food Store chain, which he expanded to more than 1,000 locations from a modest 10.

At the University, Melcher was a former chairman of the alumni board and the UH Foundation. His major donations include $3 million to the College of Business Administration and multimillion-dollar pledges to KUHF-FM and KUHT.

Melcher Hall, home of the CBA, is named for Melcher and his wife Lucile, as is the Melcher Gymnasium. The Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting, scheduled to open early next year, will also bear his name.

Melcher was born in Swiss Alp, Texas, but his family moved to Houston when he was young. He graduated from Reagan High School and attended classes at Houston Junior College, which would become UH.

Melcher learned about the grocery business by working at two local food stores. He went into the food brokerage business and acquired the UtoteM chain, becoming its president in 1953.

In addition to his donations to UH, Melcher has given money to the Kinkaid School, Rotary House International and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Melcher is survived by his wife and his daughter, Lucile Yvonne. Both his sons, LeRoy Jr. and Julius, preceded him in death.
 

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