Creator of Action News Melvin Kampmann dies at 85

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Saturday, July 16, 2016
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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (WPVI) -- The man who created Action News in 1970, former WPVI-TV News Director Melvin Kampmann, has died. He was 85.

He passed away peacefully in his home on Tuesday, July 12. He suffered from Parkinson's disease.

Mel coined the term and created Action News for Channel 6 in Philadelphia back in the '70s.

He was born in Santa Monica, California, to Margaret and Melvin Kampmann.

He joined the Air Force and served in the Korean War as an Air Traffic Controller.

After his service, Mel became a radio announcer and late night television movie host in Fresno, California, before moving to Los Angeles where he began his TV news career.

He then moved to San Francisco, where he met his wife, Karin, and celebrated not one, but two weddings - one in California and one in Germany.

Mel continued his news career in Denver, Philadelphia, Fargo and Washington D.C.

He earned an Emmy Award during his tenure at WJLA in Washington, D.C.

Given his success, Mel hung up his News Director hat to become a TV News consultant and stayed in the D.C. area for 27 years.

Mel and his wife fell in love with the Delaware Eastern Shore where they established the Dairy Queen in Dewey Beach.

Many summers were spent serving cones and enjoying the beach leading to their move to Rehoboth where, for the past decade, he enjoyed sharing war stories at the local VFW, surf fishing on the beach with his boys and performing with the Ad Hoc Touring Company, a sub group of the Possum Point Players.

A funeral service will be held at Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium in Lewes on Wednesday, July 20, at 11 a.m. (visitation at 10 a.m.), and Mel will be interred at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the Parkinsons' Education and Support Group of Sussex County: PO Box 56, Lewes, DE 19958.

He leaves his wife of 50 years, Karin (Grabowski) Kampmann; his son, Scot Kampmann; his son Erik Kampmann and his wife Karen; and his grandchildren, Rebecca, Melanie and Meghan.