Thomas R. Merrill ’57

The Rev. Dr. Thomas R. Merrill ’57 died July 8, 2014, in Scarborough. He was born on January 6, 1935, in Portland and graduated from Portland High School, where he swam for the Portland Boys Club and Portland High swim teams. He was an Eagle Scout and worked for many years on the waterfront at Camp Hinds in Raymond. He attended Bowdoin from 1953 to 1955, a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, then Portland Junior College and Gorham State Teachers College, graduating from Gorham in 1958. In 1957, he was appointed as a student minister to the Chebeague Methodist Church on Chebeague Island and was ordained a Deacon in 1959 while attending Boston University School of Theology. He earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1962 and was ordained an elder at the Maine Annual Conference at Peoples United Methodist Church in South Portland. In 1989, he earned a Doctor of Divinity degree, also from Boston University School of Theology. Around the same time, he was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame for his years of swimming for Portland High School. During his 55 years in active ministry, he served United Methodist churches in York, Ogunquit, Brewer, South Portland, Portland and Salem, N.H. He also worked as a counselor and dean at the Methodist Church’s Camp Mechuwana, in Winthrop. In 1973, he left the parish ministry to become executive director of Methodist Conference Home in Rockland. During his tenure there, the Home pioneered many of the services now widely available for seniors, including housing, congregate services, meals and transportation. In 1985, he returned to the parish, and retired in 2001, but only briefly. In October 2002, he was asked to serve as an interim for a month at Good Shepherd UMC in Gray, a position he retained for the next 10 years, retiring again in June 2012. He is survived by his wife of almost 58 years, Beverly Cummings Merrill; daughters Martha E. Ames and Laura E. Church; son John K. Merrill; nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He was predeceased by brothers Donald H. and William Merrill.