Longtime Wilbraham resident Robert L. Merrill, 91, died peacefully on Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at home with his family. He was born in Springfield to the late Amos and Margaret (Gunther) Merrill. Bob was a member of Grace Union Church in Wilbraham since 1987.
Bob grew up on a family farm on Allen Street in Springfield. The family grew fruit and vegetables on land in Springfield, Wilbraham and Hampden. Bob attended Trade High School and an agricultural high school in West Springfield. He served in the National Guard from 1947 to 1950 and in the Marines from 1952 to 1954. Later, he ventured into a new career as a carpenter. After a couple years as an apprentice, he started his own business in 1961. He enjoyed meeting and working with his customers along with the challenges of each job being unique. He hung up his hammer in the early 2000’s after 40+ years!
Bob was an avid fisherman and loved to fish for native trout in the brook behind the house. He purchased a boat specifically for fishing in the Quabbin Reservior and spent countless hours trolling for lake trout with Marian steering the boat. Bob became a passionate golfer and enjoyed playing with family and friends at different courses. His other hobbies were gardening, woodworking, and cross-country skiing.
Bob and Marian enjoyed car rides throughout New England, dining at new restaurants along the way. They loved going to the Cape to watch wildlife and the changing of the tides. Hosting family and friends at home was a delicious feast for everyone, over time requiring extensions to the dining room table.
Bob always made time for his sons, adjusting his work schedule to participate or attend their activities. He thoroughly enjoyed coaching little league baseball in town. He was assistant scout master of Troop 177 and used his skills to build a four-lane track for the annual Pine Wood Derby event. He constructed a hockey rink in the backyard, complete with lighting. When trouble arose among the players at night, his simple solution was to unplug the flood lights! He was also known to challenge neighborhood kids to play pool for a couple of bucks. As the night progressed, he usually made a nice little profit.
Bob is survived by his two sons: Robert E. Merrill of Wilbraham and William D. Merrill and his wife Karen of Plattsburgh, NY; sister Elizabeth Landry and two cherished grandchildren: Russell Merrill (Megan) of Plattsburgh, NY and Laura Merrill of Albuquerque, NM. He is also survived by his brother-in-law Fred E. Anderson and his wife, Lynne of Windsor, CT and many dearly loved nieces and nephews. Bob was predeceased by his beloved wife, Marian A. Merrill, whom he married in 1954; his siblings: Shirley O’Connor, Francis T Merrill, Amos A. Merrill, Richard A. Merrill, James D. Merrill and Margaret Shaw.
The family appreciates the caregivers who treated him with kindness and respect later in life. Thank you, especially to Matt, Gisele and Stella.
Family and friends are invited to a Memorial Service to celebrate Bob’s life on Saturday, November 20th at 11:00 AM at Grace Union Church. A private burial with Military Honors will be held at the convenience of the family. Wilbraham Funeral Home, 2551 Boston Rd., Wilbraham is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Grace Union Church, 10 Chapel Street, Wilbraham, MA 01095 or the Dakin Humane Society, 171 Union Street, Springfield, MA 01105.