Richard "Dick" Merrill
1930 - 2017
EAST WINTHROP - Richard "Dick" Merrill, a long time resident of East Winthrop, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, with his loving family by his side. Dick was born in Pittston in 1930 and lived in Gardiner for many years.
He is survived by his three children and their families, LeeAnn and Scott Stairs of Randolph, Brian Merrill of North Monmouth and Gary and Heather Merrill of Cornville; nine grandchildren, Garrett and Kassidy Stairs of Randolph, Callie Jo, Clayton and William Merrill of North Monmouth, Aaron, Raime, Caitlyn and Spencer Merrill of Cornville; one great-granddaughter, Marley Nye of Randolph; his sister Gerrie Rankin and husband Wayne of Manchester; nephews Rob Merrill and wife Donna of China, Wayde Rankin and his wife Donna of Manchester, nieces Cathy Connaughton and husband David of New Hampshire, Tanya Ellis and husband Greg of Pittston and Lynne Grivois of Winthrop; as well as many other great nieces and nephews; his very dear friend and companion Clara Cowan of Seattle and other extended family whom he loved dearly. He had a very dear group of friends at the YMCA in Manchester whom he saw daily as he was an integral part of the creation and opening of Run for your life (now the YMCA) in 1979.
He was predeceased by his wife, Marie Harris Fisher, in 2014 after 31 years of marriage; parents Milton Merrill and Mary Josephine Harwood; and his brother Robert "Bob" Merrill.
Dick graduated from Gardiner High school in 1948, where he was class president. He worked for Rogers Construction Co. driving a truck for a time before he joined the US Navy where he was a dental assistant. During his time in the Navy he married Patricia Rogers of Gardiner in 1953. They had three children. After his time in the navy he enrolled in the University of Maine Orono in the engineering program which he graduated from. His engineering career took him many places, one of which he spoke most fondly was the White Mtn National Forest in New Hampshire.
In 1969 he opened Heritage Nursing Home in Winthrop which he ran until his retirement. He and his good friend Bob Cumler started Run For Your Life at his nursing home for staff and residents. He made his nursing home a very special home for the residents.
He had a lifelong love for Classic Wooden Boats which was cultivated by his father during his childhood. It led him to own many boats over his lifetime. His favorite, was his 26' HackerCraft which he owned for more than 50 years. Nearing his retirement he purchased a Boat Restoration business which he used to work on his many different boats over the years.
During his retirement he did many things which he loved, including being a long time volunteer at Owls Head Transportation Museum. He loved the large trucks that he operated in his youth. It was his favorite summertime weekend hobby to go down to Owls Head Transportation Museum with his grandson, Garrett and granddaughter Kassi. They volunteered there together for many years.
He lived a large part of his life on Cobbossee Lake in East Winthrop, he was there until his last day. It was one of the most important places to him. During spring and summer his favorite place was on the porch, where he could usually be found enjoying the sounds of the lake, and watching the sun rise and set. On the lake, he spent many days teaching his children, and his grandchildren how to fish, swim, make ice cream, drive boats, water ski and of course tie knots, he loved a good joke among so many other things.He was a great father, friend and person; a true gentleman. Dick lived a long, fulfilled life surrounded by many family members and loving friends. He will be immensely missed by all.
"It is not length of life, but depth of life."
(Emerson Ralph Waldo)
Services will be Tuesday, March 14, at Staples Funeral Home in Gardiner. Visiting hours, 10 a.m., funeral at 11:00 a.m., followed by Burial at The Veterans Cemetery in Augusta.
Staples Funeral Service
53 Brunswick Avenue
Gardiner, ME 04345
Published in Central Maine on Mar. 11, 2017