BHC 08022019 Dr. Stephen Hughes Melton

Dr. Samuel Hughes Melton, 52, of Bristol, Virginia, died Aug. 2 following an Augusta County crash July 31.

BRISTOL, Va. — Friends and family recalled Dr. Samuel Hughes Melton as a well-disciplined and loving leader during a celebration of life service Sunday at Fellowship Chapel in Bristol, Virginia.

“The impact of this man is just phenomenal,” said the Rev. Scott Price, the church’s pastor.

Melton, 52, died on Aug. 2 at the University of Virginia’s Medical Hospital after suffering injuries in a motor vehicle crash.

Melton’s wife of 24 years, Sarah Melton, recalled the couple’s “whirlwind romance” on Sunday as a time of prayer and long walks in Charlottesville — the city where the couple met and where she said her final goodbye to her husband a few days ago in the hospital.

The father of two grown daughters, Claire and Maggie, was remembered by a series of speakers on Sunday as an avid adventurer, outdoorsman and pilot, as well as a doctor who listened to his patients, hugged them and prayed with them.

“He never boasted of his accomplishments,” Sarah Melton said. “He was always the optimist, and he saw the positive in everything.”

Until his death, Melton served as Virginia’s Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. Previously, in 2015, Melton had been named the deputy commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health.

A native of Miami, Florida, Melton earned his medical degree at the University of Virginia and served in the U.S. Army before coming to Lebanon, Virginia — where he opened C-Health, P.C. — and becoming board certified in Addiction Medicine.

While also in Lebanon, Melton cared for patients with substance abuse disorders at HighPower, P.C., and, in 2011, was named the Family Physician of the Year by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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