MSGT Ramona J. Meltz, Mona as she was affectionately called by all who loved her, joined God’s heavenly Band of Angels on January 7, 2019, where she was welcomed with open arms to join them, mold them and live in the music. Her magic baton is forever silenced here on earth, however she’s now “making a joyful noise” with those musicians from her biological family as well as her military family that have been waiting for her instruction. She now resides where the tempo, count, musical markings, cut-offs and solo’s are always perfect. In Hallelujah Square, all is perfect for Eternity and everyone, will follow her Golden Baton with perfection. Mona is happy and all is well.....
Mona was born in Appleton, Wisconsin on April 18, 1931, the first of four children of professional musician Orville Meltz and Marie (Van Langhen) Meltz. Mona got her musical talent from her father Orville. He taught her how to play the saxophone and clarinet, when she was just 10 years old. Encouraged to use her musical talents, following her graduation from Appleton High School in 1949, she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in July 1949. Following her basic training at Fort Lee VA, she became the 16th member of the 14th Women’s Army Corp (WAC) Band at Ft. Lee VA. During the next three years, she served in both the Marching band and Dance band while stationed at the Training Center Ft. Lee VA.
In 1952, MSGT Meltz left active duty and joined the Army Reserves and kept her Army rank. While away from active duty she attended the Appleton School of Business and Lawrence University Conservatory of Music. Her love of music and her musical creativity was a calling she embraced, so she joined the Jimmy James Orchestra, the only female member of the group.
In 1955, Mona wanted to stay in the music field, but also found a void in her life and career. She re-enlisted in active duty and once again became a member of the 14th WAC Band, now located at Ft. McClellan in Anniston, Alabama.
MSGT Meltz was selected to be the conductor of the WAC Band and leader of the Dance band. She was promoted to the rank of SGT. Mona said her success as a director was being able to communicate her thoughts and feeling to members of the band through her music. Her military ‘family’ members said she molded the lives of many young women musicians and was the best conductor they ever had the honor and privilege to play for. She was a leader and mentor and could pull things musically out of her band members that you didn’t even know you possessed. She always got them to produce at their very best. Under MSGT Meltz’s leadership and direction, the WAC Band was the premier band of the Army and had a reputation that was untouched by any other military band. Among her many memorable events were participation in three presidential inaugural parades, concerts at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria and on the steps of the Capitol, a three-week tour in Florida where the band played for Army, Navy, and Air Force troops stationed there during the Cuban crisis, performances at the World’s Fair in New York and a public concert at Ft. McClellan.
MSGT Meltz was promoted to SFC (Sgt First Class) and was the 3rd enlisted woman to attain this rank since the WAC Band was established in 1942. She was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service, presented by the WAC Center commander for exceptional leadership, outstanding performance, knowledge and initiative. She would later go on to receive the Legion of Merit Medal, Army Achievement Medal, another commendation medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal 7th award and the National Defense Medal. She was selected for promotion to SGM (Sgt Major) but chose to retire in 1973.
Surviving Mona are her sister Judy Davis (Appleton, WI), her brother John Meltz (Oshkosh, WI) and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and great great nieces and nephews. Those that have entered the kingdom of God, and many that have joined God’s Band of Angels, before Mona are her parents, Orville (1994) and Marie (2000), a brother and sister-in-law Larry and Lois Meltz, sister JoAnn Leddy (December 2018), brothers-in-law George Wales, Bernie Davis, Jack Leddy and Jerry Schroeder and special friend and fellow WAC musician Patricia Browning.
Mona will be laid to rest alongside her parents, with a Military Internment scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on May 20, 2019 at Riverside Cemetery in Appleton, Wisconsin.
A special thank you to ThedaCare Regional Medical Center for their care of Mona during her final hours. Very special thank you’s to Bob Archer and Karen Nichol from Carolina Assisted Living, who were by her side until she joined God’s heavenly Band of Angels and Jim Wales, her nephew, who took wonderful care of Mona and ensured she got to all her appointments and had everything she needed while at CAL.
Rest in peace our sister, aunt and noble leader.... know that you will be sorely missed by all that have loved you or ever served under your leadership and tutelage!