1921 – 2023

Beulah Melchor Quick died Monday the 25th of September in Fayetteville, North Carolina at age 102.

This is a story of her life, as recalled by her daughter, Paula.

July 23, 1921 – Beulah Mae Melchor was born to Beulah V. and Warren Melchor on her father’s birthday!  The Melchor family, which included sister, Grace, who was born in 1920, lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina near grandparents, and several relatives.    Warren Melchor was a medical doctor, as was his father, Paul N. Melchor.  Beulah V. Melchor taught school and was a passionate gardener.

Beulah Mae Melchor and her sister, Grace Lillian Melchor, attended public schools for the first few years before enrolling in Palmer Memorial Institute—a boarding school in Sedalia, North Carolina.  Palmer, which was founded in 1902 by educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown who served as the school’s president for 50 years, was fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools at a time when few Black high schools enjoyed this recognition. Palmer graduates gained not only a diploma but also a firm idea of their own individual worth. Dr. Brown had taught her students to become “educationally efficient, religiously sincere, and culturally secure.”  Palmer was the only finishing school of its kind in America. The curriculum reflected the founder’s view of The Correct Thing to Do, To Say, To Wear, title ofthe book authored by Charlotte Hawkins Brown.  Beulah Melchor enjoyed the social life at Palmer and formed the ”MarConsBeu Sorority” with her friends—Margaret Lanier and Constance Merrick.  The girls remained lifelong friends, as they married and had children, who extended the friendship.

During the summers, Beulah Melchor and some of her friends worked at Squirrel Inn in the Catskill Mountains of New York, waiting tables.  When they were not working, they socialized and took lots of photos. After graduation from Palmer at age sixteen, Beulah Melchor attended Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina where she majored in education.  One year she was Queen of the annual May Day festival.  After graduation Beulah Melchor moved to Taylortown, North Carolina to begin her first teaching job at Academy Heights.  She rented a room with the Taylor family, and a few years later, met and married Mrs. Taylor’s son, who had been away attending Howard University.  Taylortown was a Black community founded by Demus Taylor, adjacent to the racially segregated Pinehurst, North Carolina.  The founder’s son, Robert, was married to Edna B. Covington Quick, who was a widow and teacher at Academy Heights.

Beulah Melchor and Clifton Quick were married in 1943 at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville.  The newlyweds moved to Washington, DC where Clifton Quick drove a taxi and worked at the post office until he was able to enter Howard University Medical School.  Beulah Melchor Quick worked in the federal civil service and at Howard University Dental School during those years.

In February 1949 Beulah Quick gave birth to a daughter, Paula.  In June of that year, the family moved back to North Carolina, where Dr. Clifton Quick began an internship at Kate Bitting Hospital in Winston-Salem. The family lived with Mrs. Quick’s parents in Fayetteville, as Dr. Quick traveled back and forth between Winston-Salem and Fayetteville.  After Dr. Quick completed his internship, he opened an office for the practice of medicine and the family rented a house in Fayetteville.  Beulah Quick established a nursery school on Moore Street, a few blocks from the Melchor family home and St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church.

For most of her adult life, Fayetteville was home.  The family spent summers at Atlantic Beach, South Carolina, where they developed friendships with other Black families who shared this residential community near the racially segregated Myrtle Beach.  Beulah Quick worked at Ft. Bragg in a civil service job, and at her husband’s office for several years.  In the 1960s she returned to education and taught children of military personnel in primary school grades at Fort Bragg.  Mrs. Quick enjoyed the children and the friendship of faculty members.

St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church was a major part of Mrs. Quick’s life.  She held many roles over the years, including historian and volunteer coordinator for the breakfast program, serving homeless people.  She also served Meal-On-Wheels.  Beulah Quick’s letters to the editor of the Fayetteville Observer were frequent and sometimes provocative, as she shared her views on matters of civic concern.

The Quicks traveled and enjoyed socializing with friends, especially members of Dr. Quick’s social clubs in Washington, DC and other places on the east coast.  Playing cards—pinochle, bridge, tonk and poker—and Pokeno kept Mrs. Quick busy.  Whenever she could visit a casino, playing the slot machine was her favorite activity. 

Beulah Quick’s roles as mother and grandmother to William and Kia have been especially important.  She has spent the last few years living near or with her daughter and her granddaughter.  True to her cheerful personality, she maintained a sense of humor.  She was always ready for a car ride, and happy to eat (hungry or not), especially meat, ice cream and cookies.

Mrs. Quick has been an enthusiastic supporter of the nonprofit organizations—African American Education & Research Organization (AAERO) and Melchor-Quick Meeting House—founded in 1999 and 2018, respectively, by her daughter—Dr. Paula Quick Hall.  In 2019, Mrs. Quick and her family,  established The Beulah Melchor Quick Living Legacy Award as a way to share and support other women in their efforts to be well educated, productive and independent.  This award, which has been given to thirteen women, will become the Beulah Melchor Quick Memorial Award.

Leave a Reply