Official Obituary of

Melvin Thomas Ames

April 27, 1934 ~ June 13, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Melvin Ames Obituary

Melvin Thomas Ames was born on April 27, 1934, in Pungoteague, Virginia, to Junious and Flossie Needam Ames.  Melvin of Teaneck, New Jersey was called home into God’s hands on June 13, 2023 at 2:00 p.m., with his son Glenn and sister-in-law Dorothy at his side.

Mel attended DeWitt Clinton High School and served in the U.S. Army, with duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey, Fort Riley Kansas, and Fort Carson in Colorado.  In the Army, Melvin learned the importance of integrity, responsibility, and honor.  He lived by these core values his whole life, which later piqued the interest of his soon-to-be wife, Barbara Wilson Ames. Finally, Melvin met his match as they both met at a Halloween party in New York City. Melvin married his beautiful wife Barbara in 1964. Through that union the couple welcomed their son, Glenn Ames whom they adored and cherished. 

Mel loved photography and launched his career at Marc Bomse Studios and later joined George Barkentin Studios in New York City, where he really honed his skills as a gifted photographer. He was one of the first African American Fashion Photographers shooting high end fashion for major fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle,  Glamour, Vogue, and Seventeen to name a few in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Mel worked with Pam Barkentin, Martha Stewart, Brooke Shields, Peggy Lipton, Maud Adams, etc.  He also opened the door to modeling for his niece Diane at Barkentin Studios. He shot on location throughout the United States and abroad--visiting Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the Hawaiian and Caribbean Islands.  His portfolio was very extensive. Mel also enjoyed mentoring new photographers that went on to become great photographers in their own rite. He also had an appetite for life, loved exotic foods and going to enjoy a good meal with family and friends!

Melvin was well-known as the “Family Photographer” and documented all special occasions and events to include, holidays, graduations, and family gatherings. Melvin was very charismatic and was a gifted storyteller.  He enjoyed talking about basketball, current events, and other topics of interest. His stories often resulted in laughs. His laugh was infectious, and his smile unforgettable.  He warmed the hearts and minds of his family and friends. Those he encountered, meant you were connected and heard by someone that really cared – he was 100% present.  As a father, he was a protector and rock of the Ames family who never missed his son’s baseball and basketball games.  When entertaining, he was full of energy and always lit up a room.  To stay in shape, he loved a good game of handball at Votee Park in Teaneck.  Mel was also a prankster and often had good fun with family and friends to bring about light-heartedness to those involved.

Melvin is survived by his wife Barbara, son Glenn, daughter-in-law, Ijeoma, granddaughter, Ananda, sisters-in-law, Ernestine Ingram (Julius), Dorothy Wilson, Bernice Carroll (Leslie), Peggie Sampson, and a host of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by mother, Flossie, and father, Junious Ames; brother, Junious David Jr., sisters, Lucille Freeman, and Lilly Mae Stevens; niece, Donna Brown and nephews Norman and Paul Freeman; mother-in-law, Maxine Wilson, and brothers- in-law Ronald Sampson and Raymond Wilson.



Don’t grieve for me for now I’m free,I’m following the path God laid for me

I took his hand when I heard him call,

I turned my back and left it all

I could not stay another day,

To laugh, to love, to work or play

Tasks left undone must stay that way,

I’ve found that peace at the close of day

If my parting has left a void,

Then fill it with remembered joy

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,

Ah yes, these things I too will miss

Be not burdened with times of sorrow,

I wish for you the sunshine of tomorrow

My life’s been full, I’ve savored much,

Good friends, good times, my loved one’s touch

If my time seemed all too brief,

Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief

Lift up your heart, rejoice with me,

God wanted me now, He set me free.



© 1974, 2021 Anne Lindgren Davison

All rights reserved.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Melvin Thomas Ames, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Melvin Thomas Ames?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Melvin's memory.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Melvin Thomas Ames

© 2024 Petrik Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility