On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, our family circle was broken when God called one of his own, Jemel Lydell Toppin, home to be with him. He was born on September 7, 1986 to Bruce Bagwell and Shirley Toppin.
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“Mel,” as he was called by family and friends, was educated in the public schools of Accomack County. He was born in Nassawadox, Virginia, but grew up in Macedonia.
Though “Mel” was only thirty-four, he made his way into the hearts of many that knew him. “Mel” made an everlasting impression as a father, son, brother, friend, and as an irreplaceable member of the Toppin, Mason, and Handy families. Anyone that encountered “Mel” had a special journey with him. A journey that was sure to encompass as many laughs as you could handle, genuine love, and loyalty. Whenever “Mel” was mentioned, the phrase “Mel crazy, but that’s my boy!” was never far from the conversation. Even in that, “Mel” was our constant source of reliability and normalcy.
“Mel” always greeted you with a big smile, goofy laugh, and plenty of conversation. “Mel’s” days were spent enjoying his children, family, and friends. He was always ready to lend a helping hand and he loved to play basketball. It is impossible to describe how missed he will be into words, because words will never be enough. We will forever be tied together by blood, love, and in spirit.
“Mel” leaves to cherish his fond memories: his three sons, Braedyn Ayres, Jase Riley, and Jesai Stratton; parents, Bruce Bagwell, Shirley Toppin, and Larry Handy; three brothers, Zacchueus Toppin, Xavier Toppin, and Larry Handy, Jr.; sister, Beatrice Wilson; uncles, Levi (Ernestine) Toppin and James Toppin; aunts, Diane Randall, Mabel Tyler, and Beatrice (Tony) Mason; close friends, Terrance Handy, Martrell Mason, Lakeva Mason, Brian Handy, Pope Thomas, Walter Ayres, and O.J. Matthews; a special friend, Angelica Stratton; and a host of relatives and other friends.