Marvin Earl Merritt, son of Frank Earl Merritt and Hannah Marguerite Merritt, was born April 4, 1931, in Jerome County, Idaho, and died at home in White Salmon on Saturday, May 1, 2004.
He attended Elementary School in Tuttle, Idaho, and Hagerman, Idaho, and completed his schooling in Wendell, Idaho, where he graduated in 1949.
Mr. Merritt learned telegraphy at Nampa Business College and on completion of his studies began working for the Union Pacific Railroad. Shortly after beginning work for the railroad he joined the United States Air Force and subsequently was sent to Korea for tour of duty. In that time he worked in intelligence. During a flight to gather information, he was wounded by enemy fire and was awarded the Purple Heart. He finished up his military time stationed in Condon, Ore.
In 1956, he enrolled at Eastern Oregon College of Education in La Grande, Ore., where he met his future wife Shirley Best. He then transferred to Portland State College to earn his bachelor's degree in June 1959. He earned his master's degree in 1977 from M.I.T. Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Mass.
Mr. Merritt worked for Union Pacific Railroad for 37 years. He retired in 1986 as general manager for the South Eastern District in Little Rock, Ark.
He then returned to the Pacific Northwest, where he had purchased 10 acres in White Salmon. His plan was to be a gentleman farmer growing cherries and riding his tractor followed by his two grandsons and two pet dogs. The Merritts spent their winters in Palm Springs, Calif., where they had purchased a condo.
Mr. Merritt was appointed mayor of White Salmon in 1994, filling out the term of a former mayor. He chose not to run for re-election due to poor health.
The Benevolent Order of the Elks of White Salmon encouraged him to transfer his membership to their organization. He thoroughly enjoyed serving as chairman of the trustees.
Mr. Merritt is survived by his wife Shirley, White Salmon; mother Marguerite Merritt, Gooding, Idaho; daughters Susan Lambert, White Salmon, and Julie Blake, Salem, Ore.; grandchildren David and Robert Ross, Cristi, Matthew and Daniel Blake, Salem, Ore.; great-grandchildren Gabriel Ross, Sidney, Neb., Makayla Rose and Brandon Ross, White Salmon; brothers Larry Merritt, Bryan, Texas, Rex Merritt, Wendell, Idaho, and Clell Merritt, Gooding, Idaho; and sister Rita McGrath, Spokane.
A tribute service was held at Anderson's Tribute Center in Hood River, Ore., on May 5, 2004, at 2 p.m., with a reception following. Vault interment was at Idlewild Cemetery in Hood River.
Memorials may be made to Hospice of the Gorge or the Travis and Beverly Cross Guesthouse in care of Andersons's Tribute Center, Hood River.