Clyde Richard “Dick” Merritt was born on September 9, 1928 at home, in Weston, Georgia to Eddie Roox Merritt and Estelle Henderson Merritt. He attended schools in Weston and Preston, Georgia. He graduated from high school at Preston in 1945. He attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton two years. He then took a year off to farm, returning to college at the University of Georgia where he majored in Agricultural Economics, graduating in 1949.
Dick joined his father in the logging business after college graduation. They logged for Coats and Clark of Albany until 1964. He then joined his brother-in-law, Brady Williamson, in forming a business in Columbus, Brady Williamson Contractors. Mr. Williamson died in 1981, at which time Mr. Merritt assumed ownership. He continued to run the business until 1994, when he retired.
Mr. Merritt served on the board of Bank of Webster in Preston, Georgia. He joined the men in the area in organizing Greenfield Academy in Weston. He was a member of Southwest Georgia Big Wheelers Tractor Club.
Mr. Merritt had always shown an interest in antique tractors, engines, toys, signs and other old items. He began collecting them through the years and built a building to house them which he called the Toy Box. Many hours were spent there to work on various things. His 80th birthday was held there with a 6-piece country band entertaining guests. A whole BBQ pig was the centerpiece of the food table. Barbecue, salads, desserts, and birthday cake were enjoyed by 50 guests.
Mr. Merritt was a life-long member of the Weston Baptist Church, Weston, Georgia. He served on the building committee and was assistant treasurer for 38 years, assisting his wife, Iva Lou Merritt.
Mr. Merritt, with assistance from his wife, will be remembered for taking children in the community trick-or-treating each year. He would fill a wagon with hay, hook up to a tractor, load the children up and go from house to house searching for treats.
Mr. Merritt’s health began to fail in 2013. He continued to go to his Toy Box on days that he felt like it.
Mr. Merritt is survived by two sons, Richard Merritt (Tammy) of Weston and John Merritt (Jan) of Cordele; two grandchildren, Rich Merritt of Austin, TX and Ashley Merritt of Weston; also, two step-grandchildren, Tony Cheshire (Karen) and their two daughters, Haley Morris and Katie Jester of Coffee Springs, AL and Jennifer Kelly (Brian) of Sparks, GA and their daughter, Lindsey Troupe of Valdosta, GA; sisters-in-law, Dr. Barbara Carlton of Wauchula, FL and Frances Keightley of Columbus, GA; special nieces, Susan Wiseman (Kenneth) of Weston, GA, Anna Moore (Grady) of Andalusia, AL , Ann Williamson of Columbus, GA and Rooks and Kay Harmon of Weston, GA; and a first cousin, Edward Hodges of Palatka, FL.
Mr. Merritt was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 67 years, Iva Lou Merritt and his parents, Estelle and Eddie Roox Merritt, all of Weston, GA and a beloved cousin, Merritt Harmon.
A funeral service is planned for Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. in the Weston Baptist Church with interment to follow in Weston Baptist Church Cemetery. Rev. Wallace Willis will officiate. A visitation will be held in the church one hour prior to the service. Flowers will be accepted, but donations may also be made to your favorite charity in memory of Mr. Dick Merritt.
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