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Celebration of Life Gathering

Vicksburg Pavilion
Wednesday July 22nd, 2020
4:00pm - 7:00pm

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Robert Merrill

With a bounce in his step, an ever-present smile on his face, and with a whistling tune, Robert Merrill was truly a joy to know and love. A man who loved a good adventure, he was a likable fellow with a quick sense of humor. Whether for family, friends, or the community, it was in Robert’s nature to serve others. He will long be remembered for his kindness and fondly remembered by those who had the pleasure of knowing such a special man. Marked by a time of prosperity, the Roaring Twenties emerged as a decade of economic prosperity rich with optimism and innovation. Yet for Burl and Clara (Herrmann) Merrill, the year 1927 brought the blessing of new life when on May 18 they welcomed the birth of their little boy, Robert “Bob” into their hearts and home. Born and raised in Vicksburg, Michigan as an only child, young Bob’s parents were hard working farmers. From a young age he learned the value of hard work and passed his hard work ethic onto his offspring. Although the onset of the Great Depression cast a shadow of economic struggle for all, Bob’s family held fast to their faith and family. A boy typical of his generation, Bob attended the local Vicksburg schools where he was a friend of many. During his high school years, he excelled in track and played guard on the football team. He also played the clarinet in the marching band. He went on to graduate from Vicksburg High School with the Class of 1945, and with World War II still raging in the Pacific, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served on the U.S.S. Dixie. Although the war ended as the Dixie steamed west, still Bob had harrowing experiences in Shanghai and riding out a Typhoon at Iwo Jima. Upon returning from the war Bob attended Michigan State College for a short course in agriculture. His love for the Spartans never waned. It was after this that Bob fell deeply in love with Margaret (Peg) Rawlinson and was married February 3rd 1951.Together they were blessed with five beautiful daughters, Gwyn, Beth, Sue, Jeanne, and Julie who made life complete. To support his thriving household, Bob worked as a talented electrician. From 1974 to 1988, he owned and operated Rawlinson Appliance which had been in Peg’s family since the 40’s. Keeping it in the family, Bob eventually sold the longstanding family business to his daughter, Julie. Bob was always up for a good adventure and loved traveling which was evident in the many places he visited over the years. In his lifetime, Bob and Peg ventured to various countries including England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, and most of all, Ireland. Bob and Peg became very close with Peg’s cousins, John and Bibi O'Conner and their family. They maintained close relationships with their Irish family and visited them at least six times The community of Vicksburg played a large role in Bob’s life. He worked on the historic village and donated a building from the family farm. He loved the history of his community and had many stories about the Vicksburg of old. In addition, Bob was a lifelong founding member of the Vicksburg Lion’s Club where he was involved in their many activities. He especially loved the B&B where he perfected the art of grilling brats even though he preferred his charred. He often served coffee, donuts, and his homemade crispy chocolate chip cookies with walnuts for the Rotary Showboat. Since Peg had been very active in the Rotary, Bob supported many of the activities she was involved in as well. One of his favorite things to do was caring for the family farm. He was always planning projects and sometimes completing them. He had endless energy and a penchant for invention. Bob also loved to roam. Many of his drives would somehow end up in Scotts at his favorite place Scooters. They made sodas the old fashion way, just the way Bob liked it. As Bob’s wife Peg became ill later in life, he stayed at her side caring and comforting her until the end. She sadly passed away in 2014. Loneliness set it, but fate took a turn and at a class reunion Bob rekindled a friendship that went back to elementary school with Norma Simmons. They soon fell in love and she became his partner and companion. They spent many joyous days together in the final years of his life. Always adventurous, Bob possessed a great memory and his quick wit was a pleasure to all he encountered. Described as a sweet, kind and giving man, Bob’s generous spirit continued well into his later years. As a final deed and very typical of Bob, his service-oriented demeanor never waned. The day before he passed at the age of 93, he purchased a new washing machine and for his final delivery took it home, unloaded it from the truck and installed it. A final delivery for a delivery man’s delivery man. Robert Merrill, of Vicksburg, passed away Sunday, July 12, 2020, at the age of 93. He is survived by his five daughters: Gwyn (Larry) Grubka of NC, Beth (John) Foster of Portage, Sue (Dan) Cooley of Schoolcraft, Jeanne Sears, and Julie Merrill, both of Vicksburg; 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his companion, Norma Simmons of Vicksburg; two sisters-in-law, Rita Brown of Portage and Elizabeth Parker of AZ; nieces and nephews. Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret “Peg” Merrill; grandson, Eric Sears and his brother-in-law, Charles Rawlinson. The family will have a public Celebration of Life Gathering for Bob on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, 4-7 PM at the Vicksburg Pavilion. Some words of sharing will begin at 6:00 PM. While visiting Bob's webpage at www.mccowensecord.com, please take time to sign his guestbook by lighting a candle and/or sharing a memory with his family. Those who wish may make contributions to South County Community Services, American Diabetes, Vicksburg Historical Society and/or the Vicksburg Lions Club. The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 South Main Street, Vicksburg, MI 49097 (269-649-1697).

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So sorry for your loss...such a nice man! Love and prayers to the family...Ron and Jan Gingerich

Jan Gingerich Jul 30 2020 4:57 AM

I am so sorry I missed the memorial and did not hear about Bobs passing. I called him my neighbor as he owned the home and property across W Ave from us. He was an amazing man full of charm and with a twinkle in his eye. I cherished every conversation we had and he will be greatly missed.

Beth Russell Jul 26 2020 7:05 PM

George Valette says May God help your family through this time of grief & sorrow, wishing all of you the very best. Bob will be missed.

marta valette Jul 24 2020 3:37 PM

He will be missed by many. A smile and a positive outlook helped many.

Kirby Scott Van Der Weele Jul 23 2020 9:02 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Robert Merrill

Howard and Amy Mears Jul 23 2020 8:12 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Robert Merrill

Gloria Gary -Smith Jul 23 2020 3:56 AM

Is this the same Bob that lived on 23rd st back in the 70/80's?

Dave bowers Jul 22 2020 9:57 PM

Bob will be deeply missed by so many. Such a kind, caring man with a smile for everyone. We are sorry for your loss. Don & Carolyn Hippen

Carolyn Hippen Jul 22 2020 9:30 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Robert Merrill

Bill and Maggie Snyder Jul 22 2020 9:21 PM

I am so sorry for your loss, Gwen, Beth, Julie,Sue and Jean....your family was so special to ours, and shared a great many memories. My favorite was when we went to Lake Michigan for breakfast, Bob made pancakes and left batter in trunk till we were done with first swim, welll.....they rose.....a lot! A good memory! We are sorry we could not be with you today, Beth knows why, thought of all of you all day.

Becky Knapp Jul 22 2020 7:06 PM

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