A priest who worked closely with Diocese of St. Petersburg Bishop Gregory Parkes died unexpectedly on Thursday, according to a statement from the diocese.
The Rev. Carl Melchior Jr. served as Priest Secretary for Parkes and acted as chaplain to St. Petersburg Catholic High School.
Melchior, 59, died of cardiac arrest after boarding a plane in Philadelphia. He was preparing to fly to Greece for a pilgrimage, the diocese said.
Known as “Buster” to family and friends, Melchior was born in Tampa on March 22, 1963. He was the youngest of three children and attended Hillsborough Community College for two years.
Before joining the priesthood, Melchior worked for eight years as the assistant equipment manager for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also worked at a Tampa area physical therapy center. He was passionate about sports and had a love “for all things football,” according to the diocese.
Melchior attended and graduated from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of St. Petersburg in May 2009.
In St. Petersburg, Melchior served as director of vocations for six years and was later appointed as Priest Secretary for Parkes. In 2019, he was assigned as chaplain to St. Petersburg Catholic High School. Melchior fulfilled both roles “diligently and joyfully,” the diocese said. He will be remembered for his precision and care in his work, they said.
Father Melchior is survived by his brother Greg, his sister Lea and his nieces Haynes and Elle.
Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 13, followed by an evening prayer at 7 p.m., at Christ the King Catholic Church, 821 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa.
A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. on July 14 at the church. Burial will follow at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 5233 118th Ave. N, Clearwater.