Merritt J. Marks
April 19, 1927 – March 22, 2013
Merritt J. Marks, 85, of Richland, passed away peacefully on March 22, 2013 at Ephrata Manor, Ephrata. He was a long-time and highly regarded business and community leader in Lebanon County and will be remembered for his enthusiasm and contagious energy who influenced everyone he met because of his positive attitude. He exemplified the motto on his license plate, “B POSITV”. Born in Richland, PA on April 19, 1927, he was the son of the late Jonas H. and Sadie Royer Marks of Richland. He was the husband of the late, Nancy Riehl Marks, who died in 1997 and to whom he was married to for 47 years. He graduated from Richland High School, class of 1944, and is an honorary alumnus of Harrisburg Area Community College, class of 1992-1993. As a boy, he was an avid baseball fan and player, having played locally on the Richland Chicks baseball team of the Lebanon Valley League. Following high school, Merritt tried out with the Lancaster Red Roses professional baseball team, which was part of the old Interstate League and affiliated with the Philadelphia Athletics, and later optioned in 1945 to Martinsville, VA to pitch for the Martinsville A’s minor league baseball team in the Carolina League, also an affiliate of the Philadelphia Athletics. It was there that his dream ended when he injured his arm. He packed his bags and headed back to his hometown, completed 18 months of service (June 19, 1945 – January 21, 1947) in the US Army, stationed in Italy. He then worked in the steel mills for five months (Bethlehem Steel), until he was offered a position in the Richland National Bank. Merritt began his banking career as a teller with the Richland National Bank in February 1948 and retired in June 1992 as Senior Vice President & Area Executive Officer, Lebanon County Region, Hamilton Bank (a CoreStates bank). After his retirement, he continued on a part-time basis as a Community Representative for the bank. He was a past President of both the American Institute of Banking, Lebanon County Chapter and Lebanon County Bankers Association. In 1991, he won the prestigious Corey Award for Community Service from CoreStates Bank. Merritt was a life-time member of Grace United Church of Christ, Richland, where he served as church council member, financial secretary, treasurer, on the capital funds campaign committee, and sang in the senior choir. In 2005, he was honored by the church for his many years of service. He served his home town of Richland as past president (1957) and treasurer of the Neptune Fire Company and Chairman of the Neptune Fire Company Carnivals. He also served as Treasurer of the Richland Athletic Association when it was first organized 1946, as Vice President & Secretary, Richland Lions Club (joined 1948), and Treasurer, member of the Board of Directors, and Chair of the Capital Fund Campaign for the Richland Community Library. He also served as treasurer, tax collector, and zoning board member for the Borough of Richland. He was Chairman of the ELCO School Authority at the time of the dedication of the new Eastern Lebanon County High (ELCO) School in November 1962. He was a Committee Member on the Lebanon Campus Educational Trust Advisory Council of Harrisburg Area Community College (1991). He was president of Community of Lebanon Association (CLA) for seven years from 1988-1994. In his first year as president, CLA membership increased by 72 percent. He often closed his president’s message in CLA Newsletters with “in the words of the ancient Dutch philosopher from Richland…You’re Terrific!. One of his fondest memories as CLA president was when CLA received the 1989 Outstanding Achievement Award for volunteerism, as the top volunteer downtown organization in Pennsylvania (given by the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, the only statewide nonprofit dedicated solely to the revitalization of the commonwealth’s core communities, and the Preservation Fund of Pennsylvania Inc., and the Bureau of Historic Preservation. The 1993 CLA Annual Dinner program included a musical introduction of president Marks, written by Bob Phillips and sung by Cliff Eshbach, Lee Moyer and Bob Phillips to the tune of “High Hopes”. The 1994 CLA Board of Directors made a special presentation to the retiring Marks for his contributions to the CLA, thanking him for seven years he led the activities and directed the organization as president. At the 1994 CLA Annual Banquet, a video presentation in tribute to Marks was of the high points of the evening. After stepping down as CLA president, he continued to serve as treasurer. During his CLA tenure, he was also a member of the CLA Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and Public Relations Committee. He served as treasurer of Lebanon 2000, a nonprofit organization formed by CLA to manage the Lebanon’s downtown revitalization strategy during that time. In 1989, he served as CLA’s first Business Person of the Year and received the organization’s Lifetime Service Award at a special tribute during the CLA Annual Dinner in 2002 and was pinned with ‘merit’ badges for the many roles he played within the community, his church, and his family. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Lebanon Valley General Hospital. He was the recipient of the Rotary Club of Lebanon’s Paul Harris Fellowship Award for outstanding community service and the J. Robert Ladd Civic Achievement Award for outstanding community service from the Lebanon Sertoma Club in 1994. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation and as President (1970), Vice President, Chairman of the Board of Directors (1986-87) and past Chairman and Treasurer (1967) for the Lebanon County Industrial Development Corporation. He served as the vice president and 1991 Campaign Chairman and 1992 Campaign Chairman for the United Way of Lebanon County and then as its President in 1993. He was also a director and Executive Board Member of the Lancaster – Lebanon Boys Scouts Council. He is member of the Steitz Club of Lebanon. He will be lovingly remembered by his children: Meretta J. Marks, Ephrata, PA and Keith M. Marks, husband of Debra A. Marks, Lititz, PA, granddaughters: Melissa J. Karli, Ephrata, PA, Michelle M. Marks, Philadelphia, PA, and Madelyn J. Marks, Ephrata, PA. He was preceded in death by a son, Kevin M. Marks, and a sister, Florence (Marks) Blouch. Memorial service will be held on Monday, April 1, 2013 in the Grace United Church of Christ, 22 Church Street, Richland, PA, with a visitation beginning on Monday at 10:00 AM. Interment will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Richland Community Library, P.O. Box 89, Richland, PA 17087 or Grace UCC, P.O. Box 694, Richland, PA 17087
- Memorial Service Monday, April 1, 2013
- Visitation Monday, April 1, 2013
Merritt J. Marks
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April 8, 2013
I worked as a cook at Hearthstone manor where merritt lived for a time, he was such a gentlemen. Alway polite and he always had a nice word of encouragement for me.I remember he always had to push every chair in after breakfast to make sure the dining room was clean and tidy, thanks Merritt, I will miss you. Terri
April 7, 2013
Merritt Marks always had a kind word to offer and a smile to share. I am so sorry to hear of his passing.
Denise (Peiffer) Gouldey
March 28, 2013
I grew up in Richland and have known Merritt all of my life. He was a wonderful and very considerate man. Richland was a much better place with him living their. The community will be lost. God speed, Merritt
March 28, 2013
In loving memory of a life well lived. We will miss you dearly, Uncle Merritt, you were a true gentleman.
March 27, 2013
Uncle Merritt was a wonderful, kind and loving man. He will be missed by all who knew him.
March 27, 2013
Truly a great leader - was an honor to work for him at Hamilton Bank. He believed in people and the community - an inspiration to many then and still continues to be!
March 26, 2013
Truly a "TERRIFIC" person . . . will miss him deeply . . . he was a super mentor! Jody, past CLA President.