Jay Russell Melick was the son of Mrs. S.M. Melick and grew up in Ames, Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State's two-year agriculture program in 1918.
Mrs. Melick, circa 1922, said in a note to Iowa State:
"Jay took the 2yr. Ag course at ISC expecting to making farming his life vocation."
He joined the Navy at Great Lakes, Illinois on December 14, 1917. The Navy assigned him to Company C, Regiment 1. He became a landsman for Electrician at Camp Dewey.
Jay died at the Great Lakes Training Station in Illinois of pneumonia on February 21, 1918.