Melvyn D. Sepic, 82, was born on December 30, 1940, the son of Frank Sepic, a coal miner, and Nellie Lebder Sepic, a beauty salon entrepreneur. Mel died on April 10, 2023 – with his looks and energy, people never believed that he was in his 80’s.
As a kid growing up on Maurice Street, Mel delivered about 100 newspapers before school each morning. Later he worked the graveyard shift at the newspaper office, getting home around 5:00 AM; just in time to sleep a couple of hours before starting school. He was a stand-out wrestler at Uniontown Sr. High School and gained local fame as an excellent jitterbug, rock-n-roll, Bop dancer in his teens and early 20’s. While attending both high school and California State Teacher’s College, he worked at Hixenbaugh’s Drug Store as a soda jerk, stockman and pharmacy assistant. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Cal. State, and went on to earn a Master’s in Education and Principal’s Certification from West Virginia University.
Mel dedicated nearly 60 years of his life towards education, beginning his career as a teacher in what is now the Laurel Highlands School district in 1963. He became the Assistant Principal at North Laurel Jr. High School and later at both North and South Laurel Jr. High Schools. In 1979 he was promoted to Principal of the Junior High Schools. Throughout the course of his career, he was a high school wrestling coach, served as a Federal Funds Coordinator and managed Buildings and Grounds. He retired from Laurel Highlands in 2000. However, he was not quite ready to prop up his feet and relax; a month later Mel allowed himself to be “drafted” into taking the Principal’s job at St. Mary (Nativity) Catholic elementary school, where he served for the next 10 years (until the school’s closure in 2011). Jobless for the first time in his life, Mel decided to run for Laurel Highlands School Board, was elected in 2015 and served as President of the Board until his passing.
Instilled with a work ethic at a very young age, Mel lived by the belief that “if you’re not early, you’re late”. In his many years as a school administrator, he was always the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. Even after “retirement” he would continue to wake up at 5:30 AM, starting out his day working on school board business.
He touched the lives of so many school students and helped educate literally generations of families in Fayette County. So often, someone would approach him in public and say, “Mr. Sepic, do you remember me? You were my principal in Jr. High.” That would often be followed up by the former student smiling and saying, “you paddled me when I was in ____ grade.”
“Mr. Sepic” was recognized by students and teachers, alike, as a tough but fair Principal whose door was always open. In his actions and treatment of others, he earned respect and returned respect when it was duly earned. He was disciplined and organized beyond reproach.
In addition to his many years in education, Mel was a dedicated community servant throughout his life; in the 1970’s and 80’s, he coached baseball in the HARC league, from the mid-1970’s through 2015, he served on the South Union Township Sewage Authority, he formerly served on the Fayette County Planning Commission and was serving on the Greater Uniontown Joint Sewage Plant Authority at the time of his passing.
Before anything else, Mel’s love and dedication to family and friends came first. He was a cheerleader for and a fierce defender of those whom he loved. He provided for them, counseled them and always worried about them. His compassion, his wisdom and his love will be sorely missed.
In addition to his parents, his was predeceased by his brother, Ron Sepic (whom he loved and admired), his brothers-in-law, John Pensock, Calvin Thomas and Pete Muschott, his in-laws, Joseph and Anna Kovalish, and too many extended family members and friends.
Mel is survived by his wife of 58 years, Diane Sepic, his son, Douglas Sepic, his grandson/best friend, Adam Sepic, sisters, Marlene Pensock and Patricia Thomas, sisters-in-law, Joanne (Randy) Richey, Kathleen Muschott and Susan Sepic; numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
All funeral services are private and under the direction of the ANDREW D. FERGUSON FUNERAL HOME, 80 Morgantown St., Uniontown. A Public Catholic funeral mass will be held at 10:00 AM on Friday, April 14, 2023 at St. Therese Church, 61 Mill Street, Uniontown. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers or food, donations in memory of Mel may be made to the Laurel Highlands Academic Foundation, 304 Bailey Avenue, Uniontown, PA 15401.
Memories and condolences can be shared at adferguson.com and on the funeral home Facebook page.