Arthur L Melni
Owner of Melni Bus Service in Santa Barbara.
I met Art Melni at Bus Bash in 1993 in Phoenix, AZ. He took one of his Scenicruisers there for display. Melni had bought about 20 ex-Greyhound Scenicruisers when Greyhound started selling them off. Art used them for his charter service. There was an article in Bus World magazine about his operation back in the 1980’s.
I was having breakfast with Art during the Bus Bash and he asked me if I had ever driven a Scenicruiser? I said no and he asked me if I would like to drive his? Naturally I said yes. I was wearing my Greyhound driver’s uniform. I took Art’s bus out for a drive and returned to the hotel parking in about 45 minutes. Art thought I had stolen his bus I was gone so long. What a pleasure to drive. My one and only time driving a PD4501. It was painted in Greyhound colors for a movie shoot.
– Jim Husing
(Source: Email exchange)
Obituary for Art Melni, April 23, 2006:
Art Melni, aka Joe Armenti, died April 17 after a lengthy illness at the age of 82. Born Sept.18, 1923 in New Jersey, Art served in the military forces during World War II. He played clarinet in Gen. MacArthur’s military band. Art resided in Santa Barbara since 1963 with his wife of 56 years, Yerba, whom he married two weeks after meeting her. Art was widely known locally from his Melni Bus Service that ran as a business for nearly 40 years from its downtown Anacapa Street lot. Melni Bus Service touched the daily routines of so many facets of Santa Barbara life, from private charters, tours that spanned nationwide, college and high school athletics, providing transportation for the Tri-County area as a contractor with Clean Air Bus, forest service, repairs for other bus companies, and transport for the 1984 Olympics. Melni Bus Service was a family-run business that included Yerba, son Mark and daughters Gail and Cheryl. Melni Bus Service employed a number of loyal employees over the years and was a constant source of pride for its founder and owner. The bus company was originally started as a means to get Art off the golf course, which remained a passion of his throughout his life, as his many golf buddies will attest. Of Italian descent, Art loved the simple things in life, especially his wife’s Italian cooking, his frontyard fruit trees and a good cigar. A true family man, he loved nothing better than being surrounded by family members. He made sure of that by buying homes for each of his daughters next door to his and Yerba’s home. He is survived by wife Yerba, son Mark (Mary) of Twin Falls, Id., daughter Cheryl Melni-Freniere of Santa Barbara, daughter Gail Melni-Figueroa of Goleta, sister Evelyn Kramer of New Jersey, and 11 grandchildren, Clair, Sabrina, Jennifer, Amanda, Paul, Christopher, Michelle, Ashlee, Jessica, Megan and Dominic. (Source: PBM Members newsletter, The Paddle Feb/March 2007)
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