OBITUARY

William Richard Merritt

November 21, 1922November 16, 2020

William Richard Merritt was born on November 21, 1922 in Greenville, SC, the son of James Osmond and Pearl Hallman Merritt. He died on November 16, 2020 after a short illness, just five days before his 98th birthday.

In 1944, when serving as a groomsman at a wedding in Pickens, SC, he met the love of his life, Catherine Findley. On the second day after meeting her, he told his parents that he had met the girl he was going to marry. They were married three months later and celebrated their 76th anniversary on September 7, 2020. Bill and Catherine had two children Elizabeth Ann (Lib Ann) and William Richard, Jr. (Dickie).

Bill graduated from Greenville High School and was the editor of the Nautilus Yearbook. He graduated from Furman University and was a life member of the Furman Advisory Board. His love for Furman included season tickets to the football games which he attended until his mid-nineties.

During World War, II, Bill served in the US Navy as a Naval Supply Officer serving in Savannah, Kwajalein and Guam.

After the war, he returned to Fidelity Federal Savings and Loan where he had worked during college, eventually becoming President. His career in banking included Past President and Chairman of the Board of American Federal Bank, which is now Sun Trust Bank, past President of the South Carolina Savings and Loan League, and as Director and Vice Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board of Atlanta.

He was a past President of the Greenville Rotary Club, receiving the Paul Harris Fellow Award, past President of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, past President of the United Way and he received the Order of the Palmetto from Governor John West in 1971. He said that one of his proudest moments was being on the committee to acquire the Hyatt Hotel on Main Street which became the turning point for the Main Street development.

Bill was a charter member of Trinity United Methodist Church (now Buncombe Street United Methodist Church-Trinity Campus). He taught adult Sunday school class for over 50 years, served as Chairman of the Official Board, Chairman of the Finance Committee and sang in the choir.

His love for music began at an early age, singing in the Mackey Boys Choir at the age of 12. He sang his last solo in the Trinity Church Choir at the age of 95. He also enjoyed singing in barbershop quartets during Savings and Loan conventions and sang in the choral group at TheCascades at Verdae.

Bill particularly loved doing things with his family. Every summer meant trips to the beach, fall meant driving into the mountains to see the changing of the leaves, and winter meant early getups to see the snow or trips to go ice skating. He particularly enjoyed fishing and hunting with Dickie. One of his favorite places was Fripp Island, where he spent many happy hours enjoying the beach with family, setting up a buried treasure hunt with granddaughter Findley, and playing golf with Catherine. He was a member of golf groups at the Greenville Country Club and at Fripp Island, and was proud of his five hole-in-ones.

He was predeceased by his parents; his brother, James Osmond Merritt; and his sisters, Louise McCain and Mary Catherine Smith. He is survived by his wife, Catherine; his daughter, Lib Ann Harrison (Marvin); his son, Dick Merritt (Susan); and his grandchildren, Catherine Bladon Culler (Hamp), Richard Merritt Bladon and Findley Merritt Strange (Rob). He is also survived by great grandchildren, Hampton Culler, Elizabeth Culler and Mary Grace Culler.

When interviewed for a newspaper article in celebration of his 90th birthday, he said “he would like to be remembered for being a part of the success of Greenville. Not doing great things, but doing a lot of little things that, when put together, were helpful”. Although he will be greatly missed, Bill left behind a legacy of love for the Lord, joy of life, and personal integrity and respect.

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, November 19 at 11:00 AM at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church-Trinity Campus, 2703 Augusta Street. Covid-19 protocols will be observed with masks required, pre-registration recommended at: buncombestreetumc.org/billmerritt or (864) 233-8114. There will not be a visitation, and the family respectfully requests that social distancing be maintained. Burial will be at Woodlawn Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Miracle Hill Ministries, PO Box 2546, Greenville, SC, 29602 or to Samaritan House, 2723 Augusta Street, Greenville, SC, 29605.

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William Richard Merritt

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Bobby Powell

November 21, 2020

I worked at Fidelity Federal/American Federal from 1974 thru 1997. Mr. Merrit was a great influence on my working experience. He was part of the reason I stayed at the bank for 23 years, knowing he was in the leadership. Rest Assured, he was admired tremendously. Thanks Mr. Merrit for your guidance you showed to so many of us. May God's blessings be with the family always.

Bobby

Russ Hunt

November 18, 2020

Mr. Merritt hired me after I graduated from Furman University. I will always be grateful for him having faith in my abilities and taking me on as an employee of Fidelity Federal.
Russ Hunt

Donna Dowling

November 18, 2020

Lib Ann and Dickie, your father was the president of the 1940 GHS class of which my mom, Carolyn Gregory, was also an active alum. Under his leadership they shared many reunion gatherings at the Poinsett Club over the years. She treasured her 1940 Nautilus and all the members of their class. She is now a resident of memory care at Waterstone but would want to join Tommy and me in expressing our condolences on the passing of someone who impacted his family and community so meaningfully. Our best to you both, Donna and Tommy Dowling

Mary Margaret Dragoun

November 18, 2020

My condolences to Catherine and all of Mr. Merritt's family. He was such a steady leader at American Federal, and with a sense of joy that kept us inspired through the difficult days. May his wonderful spirit live on through the people he loved.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

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