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Gloria E. Melnikas

Gloria Emilia (Martini) Melnikas, age 94, died peacefully at First Community Village on Monday, March 29, 2021. She was born in Rome, Italy and raised by her parents Giuseppe and Maria Martini. Her father Giuseppe (1897-1984) was a well-known sculptor in Rome. She studied art and sculpture at the Fine Arts Academy of Rome, where she met her husband of almost 60 years, Antony Melnikas. After immigrating to Detroit in 1950, she worked as a designer of church and synagogue interiors with deRanieri Ecclesiastical Art Studios. Her church interiors, including stained glass designs, can be seen throughout the Midwest. Tony and Gloria moved to Columbus in 1960, where she worked as a draftsman at Eriksson Engineering Ltd. for almost 40 years, drawing designs for bridges and roads that still stand all over Ohio.

Although she never had children of her own, she doted on her niece, Paola Rossi Palumbo of Rome, Italy, and Paola’s two sons, Pierfrancesco and Edoardo. She was a devoted and loyal friend to many in the Columbus area, including Carl and Linda Eriksson. Gloria was an artist who loved the Fine Arts, particularly music and the decorative arts. She spent her retirement traveling the Midwest to various art exhibits and other cultural exhibitions and visiting her family in Italy.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Tony; mother and father; sisters; and her niece. She is survived by her great-nephews, Pierfrancesco Palumbo and Edoardo Palumbo, of Rome, Italy; as well as her “adopted niece,” Ingrid (Eriksson) White, of Columbus, Ohio, who regarded her as a second mother; and David Bahlman, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, to whom she was a great mentor and friend.

A graveside service in memory of her life will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, May 7, 2021 at Union Cemetery, 3349 Olentangy River Rd., Columbus, OH (section 14).

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