Bessie A. Merrill Obituary
Bessie A. Merrill passed away peacefully on October 5, 2019 at Green Ridge Village in Newville, Pennsylvania. Bessie was born February 2, 1928 in Dansville, NY, as one of nine children to Robert and Bessie (Hartman) Acomb. Her youth was spent working on the family farm and doing 4-H homemaking and livestock project work. One highlight was winning the state and regional Meat Animal Project award and being honored at the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago. Bessie graduated as salutatorian of the 1947 Class of Dansville High School. She performed with her sister, Helen, singing and yodeling at fairs, Grange Halls, and competitions throughout western New York during her early adulthood.
Bessie married the love of her life, Lester C. Merrill, on September 5, 1950. They built their lives around dairy farming, starting with Harris Wilcox and then managing their own farm on Abbott Road in Silver Springs, NY. After being widowed in 1972, Bessie sold the herd and focused on food service jobs (Perry Central Schools, Warsaw Hospital, Saylor’s Market) that allowed her to support the family while being available to her five children. Many benefited from her passion for flower and vegetable gardening. She was a 4-H leader and maintained lifelong membership in the NY Holstein Association, Farm Bureau, and several other agricultural organizations. She enjoyed cheering on her children and grandchildren as they showed dairy cattle through the years. Bessie also enjoyed traveling with her adult children, visiting Belgium, the eastern seaboard from Nova Scotia to Georgia, and many states in the western US where she particularly enjoyed the mountains and wildlife.
Bessie had a deep Christian faith and sang in the choirs of First Congregational Church in Perry Center and Big Spring Presbyterian Church. She also served as a trustee at Big Spring after moving south to Newville, Pennsylvania in 1987 to enjoy a “warmer climate” and to be closer to three of her children. She felt strongly about civic duty and served the community as a Board of Elections poll worker while in Newville.
Bessie was a devoted mother to George (Marcia), Richard (Patti), Allan (Jo) Merrill, Roberta (Hoyt) Matthai, and Sue (Robert) Taylor and loving grandmother to Nicohl (Kyle) Swartley, Shaun (Stacy) Merrill, Daniel Merrill, Sarah (Kevin) Finke, Elise Merrill, Adam (Fawne) Matthai and Kaitlyn (Lucas) Moxley. She felt blessed by her seven great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. She is also survived by in-laws Mary Young, Georgia Brown, Don and Pat Merrill, Dorothy Acomb and Earl Veley. She was predeceased by her parents, husband, brothers Lewis, Andrew, Robert, George, and Scott Acomb, and sisters Margaret Brew, Ruth Wilson, and Helen Veley as well as several in-laws.
The visitation and memorial service will be held at the First Congregational Church in Perry Center, NY on October 26, followed by fellowship over a light meal. Visitation will be from 1:30–3:00 p.m. followed by the memorial service at 3:00. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Green Ridge Village Fund (One Trinity Drive East - Suite 201, Dillsburg, PA 17019) or Prospect Hill Cemetery Association (7284 Rt 20A, Perry, NY 14530).
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