Father was born in Sweden. Mother was born in Panama.
At the age of 5, Mellander left Los Angeles to visit Panama for 2 months. A full 17 years passed before he returned to America to complete university studies. Initially planning to enter the diplomatic corps he majored in Latin American Studies. After teaching he was quickly selected for a series of administrative posts in several states and Puerto Rico. Although consumed with administration duties he devoted time to write over 300 academic articles that were selected by the University of Villanova's library to be placed on the Internet. He was appointed to the Paterson Board of Education and later to the State Board of Educ. by the Governor of New Jersey. While serving as a Graduate School Dean at George Mason University he was selected by a secret faculty vote as the university's best administrator. His brother Karl James Mellander graduated from the University of California (Ph.D. Astronomy) where he worked until he retired. Their grandfather Fredrik Mellander was Knighted by the King of Sweden in 1938 for his contributions to Swedish Higher Education.