Obituary for Robert Lewis Merrill
Robert L. Merrill
Brevard - Robert L. (Bob) Merrill, 88, passed peacefully to his heavenly home on Thursday, November 16, 2017. A native of Henderson county and the son of the late W. Bryan Merrill and Alma Collins Merrill, Bob graduated from Etowah High School before attending Mars Hill College. In 1991 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in acknowledgment of his long-time service as a benefactor, advisor, and trustee for the college. In 2007, Bob facilitated the building of the W. Scott Merrill Press Box, named for their son who was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 1983 while a student at the college.
As a member of First Baptist Church of Brevard, Bob taught Sunday School and served as a deacon for many years. Under his leadership, the church completed multiple building projects and expansions. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners for over 50 years.
Bob’s true source of pride was his family. He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Lois, son Dr. Rob Merrill (Lee) of Asheville, daughters Debbie (Steve) Stout of Hendersonville, and Beth (Mike) Hamilton of Nashville, TN. Foster son Andre Diaz (Freda) of Raleigh. Grandchildren - Chris, Jacqui (David), Jessica, Kelsey (Jack), Kristen, Kimberly, Madison, Matt, Nate, Kiya, and Kalu. Sisters Nancy Jones, Ruth (Clyde) Fulk and Sandy Fain. He was preceded in death by a son, Scott Merrill as well as a brother, Bryan Merrill, Jr.
The community of Brevard benefited from his leadership as Bob served multiple terms on both the Transylvania County Board of Education and County Commissioners. He founded Merrill Masonry Inc. in 1957, a firm that grew to over 100 employees as the largest masonry business west of Charlotte. Since beginning the business at least 20 masons who worked for him went on, with his help, to form their own masonry companies. Bob was a founding member and past president of both the North Carolina and the Southeastern Masonry Contractors Associations. He delighted in using his construction management skills on many local volunteer projects as well as mission trips to Paraguay, Brazil, and Dominican Republic.
As an active member of the Brevard High School Blue Devil Club, Bob was not only a fan but was instrumental in the construction of the current field house and stadium. The Mountain Amateur Athletic Association honored him with their 1975 award for exemplary contribution to WNC high school sports in a non-coaching capacity. He was also recently inducted into the Mars Hill University Athletic Hall of Fame.
With a generous heart, Bob truly touched everyone with whom he came in contact. His legacy lives on through the lives of his family as well as his numerous contributions to the community.
As a celebration of a life well lived, a service of remembrance of Bob will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, November 19th at First Baptist Church, 94 S. Gaston Street, Brevard, NC 28712.
A reception and receiving of friends will follow in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to First Baptist Church of Brevard or the W. Scott Merrill Scholarship Fund at Mars Hill University.
Online condolences may be left at www.moodyconnollyfuneralhome.com
Moody-Connolly Funeral Home and Crematory are caring for the family.