Allan Mellis: the Mayor of Lincoln Park
If you have lived or worked in Lincoln Park any amount of time over the last 50 years, there is a good chance that you’ve crossed paths with Allan Mellis, the ultimate community activist.
And if you were a public official, you may have tried to avoid crossing his path on occasion, as you knew what was coming if he caught you.
Last week Mellis was left mostly speech-less after being awarded the title of “Mayor of Lincoln Park” by Ald. Michele Smith [43rd]. The award was presented virtually, and signed by six former, living aldermen from the tony North Side ward: Bill Singer, Martin Oberman, Edwin Eisendrath, Chuck Bernardini, Vi Daley and Smith.
Mellis – who literally may have spoken more words in public in Lincoln Park than any other living person – was left basically speechless – perhaps for the first time in his life – during the virtual presentation.
After the ceremony, Ald. Smith drove the award over to Mellis’s home to present it to him in person.
Mellis recently suffered a stroke and is now mostly homebound, but this newspaper – and the 43rd Ward Office – still receive occasional notes and memos from him. His neatly typed and thoughtful memos and opinions were always in his hand at public events, and a smart reporter or public official never left a community meeting without taking a copy from him.
“As most people cannot believe that I can only say a couple words, I want to just say thank you,” said Mellis.
Over the last many decades, this newspaper can verify that Allan has spoken up, lobbied, cajoled, coaxed, persuaded and lectured more public officials and other community leaders, than any other person in Lincoln Park or most any other North Side community this newspaper covers.
During the presentation, Mellis admitted to only being around the community “since 1962,” but it seems as if he has always been there. He is indeed the living definition, and proof, of the power of one motivated individual making a difference. He has influenced innumerable community decisions – big and small – over the span of his lifetime.
“A lot of people have missed Allan, and I am so glad you are on the mend,” said Smith during her presentation. “We miss Allan and want him to know how much all of his experience and his knowledge and [ability] to get things done,” has been missed. “We love and appreciate you,” she said.
Source: Written by Paddy Bauler for The Inside Booster