The loss of two friends

The peace and justice community in Kansas City has been hard-hit by the recent loss of two dear friends. We wanted to take just a few moments to honor their memory.

Roy Melching, who lived and worked at Shalom Catholic Worker House for 20 years, died July 1 in his Kansas City, Kan. apartment. He was 65.

Roy’s stated job at Shalom was master of all trades and he certainly earned the title. From the plumbing to roofing, the garden and lawn, Roy made sure that a rickety old building continued to shelter 25 homeless men and a handful of live-in volunteers. But his real work at Shalom was to engage those who walked through the doors. Be it volunteers from all walks of life or the homeless men who arrived for all variety of reasons, Roy was quick to explain the ropes and make quick friends.

He had a deep understanding of what brought a man to Shalom House. Roy, himself, came to Shalom in need of a home that could help him kick an alcohol and drug addiction. It was not easy and more than once he had to leave Shalom to face the demons, only to return and start anew. Eventually, Roy won the day. He lived the last several years of his life alone and sober. He is an inspiration, and a missed member of a large family.

~

Maureen (Moe) Tuman, one of the founders of the Topics to Go forum, died in Omaha on June 25. She was 59.

Here is a portion of her obituary in the Kansas City Star: “Her Italian-Irish humor and lively story telling were just two facets of a remarkable person whose life was built on the bedrock of her Catholic faith and a deep, abiding concern for the friends, relatives and strangers who crossed her path. She was, in a very real sense, a servant of God’s children, a widely read, brilliant woman who listened to others, performed any task no matter how menial or grand, and never sought the limelight for herself. She baked pies for a food pantry, helped the elderly whom she encountered, volunteered for Community LINC and helped care for the babies of women who were returning to school to earn high school equivalency diplomas. A more than 30-year member of St. Francis Xavier Church, Moe was a lector, a Eucharistic minister and a past president of the parish council. For years, she helped coordinate the Soup & Spirituality lecture series there during Lent. She also played the piano for various weddings and funerals over the years, including a wedding just three weeks before her death. A strong advocate for peace and justice, she attended peace rallies in The Plaza area of Kansas City virtually every Sunday afternoon for years. A strong supporter of expanded roles for women in the Catholic Church, she was a member of the Topics to Go, a speakers bureau for progressive Catholics.”

Perhaps her most impressive trait to a casual observer was her generosity of spirit. She did not convey her deeply held beliefs in tones that contradicted her intentions. She was kind, gentle and magnanimous.

They will both be deeply missed.

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