Carleton L. Merrill

NEW GLOUCESTER — Carleton LaForrest Merrill, 84, passed away Friday, July 22, 2011 at home with his family by his side.

He was born in Durham, Aug. 26, 1926, the son of Forrest L. and Rita E. (Smith) Merrill. He attended school in Durham. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was stationed in the Philippines as a mechanic and mechanic instructor. He returned to California, where he served as a military policeman prior to separation from the service.

After the war, he met the love of his life, Elaine F. Tibbetts. They were married on Feb. 11, 1949, and resided in Durham, where they raised a family of seven children.

He followed in his father’s footsteps and was a finish carpenter and building contractor. He was also the Durham Building and Code Enforcement Officer for several years. He was a founding member of the Amvets Post 13 in Durham and served on the Durham School Committee from 1961 to 1976.

His lifelong hobby was collecting and breeding rare and exotic birds and he owned one of the largest, most complete collections in New England. He exhibited his birds at various country fairs and poultry shows throughout Maine, winning numerous awards and trophies. He served as president of the Maine Poultry Association for several years. He was also a respected poultry judge and judged shows in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

During the 1970s, he co-owned and operated Merrill’s Wildlife Center with his wife, Elaine.

He enjoyed woodworking, playing the guitar and harmonica, listening to country and gospel music, and playing pinochle. Carleton was a loving husband, father and grandfather and he possessed a great sense of humor.

During their life together, Carleton and Elaine traveled extensively within the United States, touring all of the states, except Alaska. After retiring, they spent their winter months in Florida, until recent years, when they permanently relocated to New Gloucester to be closer to family.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Elaine Merrill; six children, Brian of South Casco, Richard of Newtown, Conn., Peter of Mexico, Stephen of Lisbon, David of Poland and Karen Herrick of New Gloucester; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and five siblings, Elaine Sears, Royce Merrill, Gloria Soucie, Dawson Merrill, all of Durham and Brenda Carver of Carthage.

He was predeceased by a daughter, Kathryn E. Rundstrom; his parents; and a brother, Harold Merrill.

Visitation will be held Thursday, July 28, at the Wilson Funeral Home from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., where a memorial service will follow at 11:30 a.m. The committal will be in Lower Gloucester Cemetery. The Rev. Ron Parker will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that donations be made in memory to the New Gloucester Fire & Rescue, 611 Lewiston Road, New Gloucester, ME 04260, or to the Shiloh Chapel, P.O. Box 283, Lisbon Falls, ME 04252.

Arrangements entrusted to Wilson Funeral Home, 24 Shaker Road, Gray.

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