Teacher, Council Member, Owner of Local High-Profile Business, Melvin Forbes, Passes Away at Age of 77

Gun Rights

Melvin Forbes, 77, of Granville, passed away at home surrounded by his family on June 5, 2024.


He was born on Nov. 25, 1946, in Morgantown to Leland Nelson Forbes Sr. and Helen Ponka Forbes.


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Melvin was a lifelong resident of the Morgantown area and graduated from Morgantown High School in 1965. He married his loving wife, Patty, later that year. They bought a house in Granville and worked together to make it a home where everyone was welcome. Over the years, Melvin masterfully remodeled every part of the home and was happy to help others with their projects.


He began his career as a mold maker in the glass industry. Notably, Melvin made molds for the dinnerware for the John F. Kennedy presidency which are still on display at the White House.


His interest in firearms led him to become a part-time gunsmith. Melvin built and repaired guns for hunters, competition shooters and law enforcement throughout the state. He was an expert machinist and taught machine shop at the Monongalia County Vocational School for several years but left in 1984 to start his revolutionary rifle company, Ultra Light Arms. His rifles were recognized by hunters and shooters as the pinnacle of what a rifle could be, and he sold them throughout the world. Melvin and his company were featured in countless outdoor magazine articles and books. He was awarded the National Rifle Association’s Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award in 2011, an award given for innovation in the firearms industry. In 2022, Melvin sold his beloved company to Bill Wilson and Wilson Combat to continue to build his rifles. Recognizing the importance of education, Melvin and his family partnered with Montgomery Community College in North Carolina to establish the Melvin Forbes Next Generation Scholarship for gunsmithing students.


Melvin was active in the community and served on the Granville town council where his insight as a small businessman was impactful. He was an avid outdoorsman and spent his time hunting at “the Farm” and fishing at “the Cabin.” First and foremost, though, he was a loving husband, father and grandfather.


Melvin is survived by his wife of 59 years, Patricia Forbes; son, John Forbes (Sarah); and grandson, Wesley Forbes; daughter, Lisa Price (Edwin); and grandchildren, Hannah Metz (Broc), Amanda Bradley (fiancé, Joseph Yarzab), Courtney Price, Brandi Strawser, Samantha Strawser (fiancé, Carl Roncaglione); and great-grandson, Carson Metz.


He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Leland Nelson Forbes Jr. and Robert Forbes; and in-laws, Dorsey and Iona Rose.


Family and friends are invited to gather at Kingdom Church in Westover from 4-8 p.m. on Monday, June 10, and again from 10 a.m. on Tuesday until the time of the funeral service at 11 a.m., with Pastor Kevin Cain officiating. Following the funeral service, Melvin will be laid to rest at Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens.

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