Casper Melvin Eiben, 97, died January 25, 2021 enjoying visits and phone calls from his loving family till the very end.
"Mel" was born on March 18, 1923 in Pittsburgh to Frank and Leona. Mel is preceded in death by three brothers and one sister. Mel loved to share the story that he did not talk until the age of four but has not stopped since. His mother, desperate to stop the incessant chatting, sent him to school a year early lying about his age. Mel lived his life in Pittsburgh loving the city as much as it loved him.
In typical Mel fashion, he started everything early, and he tried anything new. Mel was a swimmer, one of the first male cheerleaders, department store owner, gas station owner, restaurant owner (Winlyns in Deep Creek, MD), mini golf course owner, jewelry store owner, avid golfer, wood carver, ship sailor, master engraver, fantastic dancer, naval captain, water skier, and so much more. He even created a nickname for himself to encompass all he did WWHQCTM (wonderful, wonderful, humble, quiet, controversial, terrific, Mel).
Mel attended Carrick High School and Duquesne University where he met the love of his life, Winnie. It is rumored that he jumped from a balcony at a university dance just to receive young Winnie's attention. He enlisted and became a naval captain during World War II. Prior to leaving for the South Pacific, Mel and Winnie would wed. Mel captained an LCT at 21 years of age responsible for 12 sailors. He noted his time in war was the adventure of a lifetime, "I never need to travel again after such a journey."
When he returned, Winnie and Mel had two daughters, who survive him, Cynthia and Suzanne. He is also survived by his grandchildren Erin, Shannon, and Brendan, and his great grandchildren Winnie, Xavier, Phineas, Jack, and Charlie. Phineas is proud to carry on his legacy with his name Phineas James Casper even though Mel, always the jokester, once said, "Please don't curse that child with the name Casper." Mel co-founded Eiben and Irr in 1953, which became a Pittsburgh staple retail outlet. After selling the business, Mel opened his own jewelry store called C. Mel Eiben Jewelers in the Clark Building in downtown Pittsburgh where he created his own beautiful works of art specializing in engagement rings. Mel ran the store until he retired at 86 years old. Mel and Winnie were married for 46 years before her death in 1990.
Later in life, Mel went on to marry his second love PJ. They met at St. Clair Country Club and lived together on Mt. Washington, watching their favorite team the Steelers, while he enjoyed many, many rounds of golf with his grandson Brendan and drove around in his favorite car, his Chrysler Sebring Convertible. Mel even proudly wrote his own memoir Forks in the Road, which was published in 2008.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be provided to PGA Reach Foundation at https://www.pgareach.org/donate. Additionally, due to COVID-19 restrictions, services will be limited to a religious ceremony.
Please visit our site honoring Mel's life at https://www.cmeleiben.com and leave a tribute message for Mel and his family.
Arrangements entrusted to WILLIAM SLATER II FUNERAL SERVICE (412-563-2800), 1650 Greentree Road, Scott Twp. www.slaterfuneral.com