Carl Merillat passed away peacefully at the age of 97 on November 23, 2019. Strong and fit all his life, he didn’t slow down like most. There was always something to build, repair, move or master. To the great sorrow of his family, time somehow caught up with this dear husband and loving father.
Carl Murray Merillat was born in South Milton Township at the family farmhouse on August 22, 1922. He was the son of Ada Mae (Saunders) Merillat and Floyd Merillat. When just a toddler, his mother Ada died, leaving only a few photographs to keep a memory of her. Carl’s father then met and married Elizabeth “Bessie” Ballentine, a physician’s assistant down the way.
Throughout his youth, Carl worked alongside his father at the farm, cultivating the cherry and apple crops. When he left the farm, he worked at Dodge in Detroit on the assembly line. It was during World War II that Carl decided to serve his country and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Air Reserve to become a fighter pilot. There were stories to be told from that time in his life, but let’s just say that Carl Murray Merillat was brave.
On September 24, 1944, Carl married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Jean Westland. Following his honorable discharge from the Navy, the young couple made Elk Rapids their home and raised their three daughters: Carla, Sandra and Diane.
Carl became an accomplished carpenter as he worked in construction. He helped build Lakeland Elementary School directly across the street from home and also worked on Cherryland Middle School. His last job was working as a machinist at Super Tool until his retirement in 1988.
Carl and Dorothy loved to travel. One of Carl’s favorite destinations was the Lake Superior shoreline in Canada. He walked the beaches, looking for agates to add to his stone collection. He enjoyed family, big get-togethers, playing cribbage, fishing and hunting with his brothers and watching the Detroit Tigers.
Carl is survived by his beloved wife, Dorothy (Westland) Merillat; daughters: Carla Pickard (Robert Cadmus), Sandra Hall and Diane (Joseph) Smith Jr; grandchildren: Michael Gmoser, Michelle Gmoser, Kimberly (Mike) Lloyd, Jacquelyn “Jackie” (Craig) Reamer, Joseph Smith III, Justin Smith; son-in-law: Joe Smith Jr.; 11 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandson and many nieces and nephews. Carl was preceded in death by his parents and stepmother; sisters: Grace (Clayton) Allan, Carolyn (Bion) Gassman, Myrtle (Carrol) Busey and Violet “Judy” Merillat; niece: Vivian (Frank) Walewski; brothers: Estle (Vivianne), Earl (Roberta), Don (Harriet), Walter (Alzora), Floyd Jr. (Marcia) and Stuart (Carol).
It was just two months ago, September 24, 2019, that Carl and Dorothy celebrated their 75th anniversary. It was a reminder that love can enrich our lives for a lifetime. Carl would say he had a good life with no regrets. Carl Merillat will be deeply missed.
Memorial services are being held Friday, December 6, 2019 at noon at Kewadin United Methodist Church, 7234 Cairn Highway. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Help from My Friends’ Pet Crisis Center, 3820 Ritt Road, Bellaire, Michigan 49615. A celebration of Carl’s life will be planned for the spring.
Elk Rapids News
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