TYLER, TX (KLTV) - East Texas is remembering Frank Melton who was instrumental in shaping both KLTV 7 and KTRE 9. Melton died Wednesday in Jackson, Mississippi. Melton collapsed after learning he was down in the polls for his mayoral re-election bid there.
Whether running a city or bringing the news to East Texans, friends say Frank Melton led with boldness and confidence.
"He's the kind of person that'd either, through his courage and conviction, lead you to believe it could be done, or more bluntly, he didn't give a damn what you thought - just get it done," said Brad Streit, Regional Vice President of Raycom Media.
Before becoming mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, Melton held several positions in television news. He started out on-air and quickly moved into management. He owned both KLTV and KTRE in the 90s.
"He was passionate about everything he did; whether it was running a TV station, running a political campaign, [or] particularly, raising children." said Jeff Buford, Vice Chariman of Buford Media Group. "He was incredibly passionate about raising children in the right way."
John Tyler High School named an athletic complex after Melton in the late 90s. Track Coach Michael Johnson met Melton while he was in college. Melton was hosting a business seminar for young black men.
"He was for the young people," said Johnson. "He was down to earth. That's what I liked about him. He was a great businessman, but he was a down to earth person, and young people really could talk to him."
Streit worked in the news business with Melton for 17 years.
"A day hasn't gone by in the last 27 years that I didn't apply one of the leadership principles he showed me first hand," said Streit. "I know that, you know when it really hits the fan, I know in my subconscious, that I do think, what would Frank do?"
And now, many wonder what they'll do without him.
Frank Melton is survived by his wife Dr. Ellen Melton and two grown children. We're told there are discussions for a memorial service in Jackson, Mississippi. No funeral arrangements have been made.