Mel had a very rich life. He graduated from Choate in 1941, Amherst College in 1947, and Harvard Business School in 1949. In the middle of his college years, he enlisted and served with the 8th Air Force in World War II from 1942-1945. He attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant as apilot/co-pilot of B-24 bombers, flew 35 missions over Europe, and received the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters.
After the war he finished school, then joined Milton Bradley where he worked for 35 years. He became the Senior Vice President in charge of Research & Development, served on the Board of Directors, and was one of the key officers responsible for Milton Bradley’s explosive growth from a small U.S. company of less than $5 million, to the largest and most successful international games company in the world with over $300 million in revenue when he retired. Mel retired in 1984 when Milton Bradley became part of Hasbro and shortly thereafter started his own company, Mel Taft & Associates to continue developing and licensing products for the international game industry. Mel was asked to join the Board of Directors of Radica Games in 1997 and served until the company was sold to Mattel in 2006.
Mel was very involved with community service. He was President and Director of the Springfield Sales & Marketing Executives Club, President & Director of Junior Achievement of Western MA, a faculty member at American International College’s Graduate School of Business, a member of the Springfield Chapter of the American Red Cross, and a Director of Springfield Epilepsy Association.
Across all his activities, Mel was known far and wide for his fantastic sense of humor and his contagious boisterous laugh, and most of all for his love of family and friends, and his enthusiasm, honesty, and respect with those who had the pleasure to know and work with him. He loved photography, travel, reading, family Christmascelebrations, and many family trips. A world traveler for over 40 years, Mel and his wife Charlotte traveled to all 50 states and every continent except Antarctica.
Mel was predeceased by Charlotte Tomlinson Taft, hisdevoted wife of 65 years, and by his sister Marion Taft Taylor.
Mel is survived by his beloved 4 children: Ted Taft & wife Johanne, Rick Taft & wife Helen Barnstable, David Taft &wife Terry, and Cindy Taft; also his 11 grandchildren: Lauren, Adam & wife Raya, Catherine, Caroline, Will, Kris, Sarah & Haley Taft, & Michael, David & Ashley Tromblay, and also by his sister Helen Taft Staser.
Service and internment will be held by the family at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1 Porter Rd, East Longmeadow, MA 01028 on Thursday March 9th at 10:00am. Family asks in lieu of flowers donations be made to Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington St, #231, Boston, MA 02111 or Shriners Hospital for Children 516 Carew Street Springfield, Ma. 01104.
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