Past president of many Melrose organizations

Published in the October 11, 2017 edition

MELROSE — Gem (Moore) Colvin, 96, a longtime resident of Melrose, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, October 2, 2017.

Gem was born on December 19, 1920 in Malden, and was one of three children of the late Warren E. and Gladys (Rendle) Moore. She graduated from Malden High School, Class of 1938, and from Malden Business School, Class of 1940.  She was engaged to Kenneth C. Colvin in May 1942, just prior to his departure for World War II. Gem waited patiently for his return for more than three years as he served in the 45th Infantry Division as a Sargent Major in missions across Europe, receiving the Bronze Star before returning home in August 1945. They were married at the Center Methodist Church in Malden on November 17, 1945, and settled in Melrose to raise a family of three children. 

Gem began her working life as a professional soprano soloist. She performed at many weddings and events through the 1940s and 50s. She also worked as an administrative assistant in Boston and Melrose into the 1970s before working as a human resources professional for Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.

Gem and Ken moved from Malden to Melrose in 1952, where Gem remained happily in the same house for 65 years surrounded by wonderful neighbors.

Gem was highly social and active in the community.  She offered her skills and thousands of hours to help others by volunteering, participating in charitable events, and sharing her love of music.  She was a past President of the Melrose Mothers Club, Phi Theta Xi Society and the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital Auxiliary. She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Melrose Women’s Club and the Melrose Senior Chorus. She served as chairwoman of the Advisory Board for the Melrose Order of Rainbow Girls and was a passionate supporter of the USO and other military-support and veteran organizations.

Gem played the piano throughout her life and sang daily, including on the day of her death.  She was a choir member and soloist at the Center Methodist Church, Malden in her youth. After moving to Melrose, she was a choir member at the Methodist and Congregational Churches. She simply loved to share music and her singing with others.  She encouraged her daughter’s love of dance, took pride in the achievement of Eagle Scout by both sons and was proud of the advanced education and many professional accomplishments of her children. 

Gem also volunteered at the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital gift shop for more than 30 years until she was 90 years old, tirelessly recruiting and scheduling volunteers. Gem was a founding Trustee of the Hallmark Health System in Melrose and served on the hospital’s Auxiliary Board for many years.

Most of all, Gem loved being part of local organizations, helping others, and attending church. Typical of Gem, her greatest concern, as she was reaching the end of her life, was that she was no longer able to contribute to the community as she once had. She will be missed.

Gem was the beloved wife of the late Kenneth C. Colvin, with whom she shared 48 years of marriage. She was the devoted mother of Wayne S. Colvin and his wife Cynthia of Bowling Green, Ohio; Bruce A. Colvin of Lynnfield; and Lisa C. Zengilowski and her husband Paul of Hinesburg, Vermont. She was the dear sister of Joan-Ann Marshall of Peabody and the late Warren E. Moore, Jr.  She was the grandmother of Amy Mustafa, Scott Colvin, Gregory Zengilowski, and Allison Zengilowski. She was the great-grandmother of Lillian Mustafa.

Relatives and friends gathered in honor of Gem’s life during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Friday, October 6, and for her Funeral Service at the First Congregational Church, 121 W. Foster St., Melrose on Saturday, October 7. Interment took place in Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody. For directions or online tribute, visit