Richard Osmon Merrill


Richard Osmon Merrill, born Dec. 27, 1936, the son of Osmon N. Merrill and Eugenia W. Merrill, passed away May 16, 2021, after battling a series of health issues.

He did many interesting things in his life. “Dickie” graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1956, was part of the 1954 basketball team that took the state title, played in the new Boston Garden and was subsequently inducted in the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. He then went to Maine Maritime Academy. His time there was cut one year short by serving his country in the United States Air Force for three years. He was stationed at Loring Air Force base in Limestone, and also in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He told many great stories from these experiences. He worked on B-52 bombers in the Air Force and then learned to fly himself. Flying was one of his greatest joys in life. He became a captain in the Civil Air Patrol and taught many cadets to fly. He put down his wings just three years ago at the age of 81.

After his service ended, he was beckoned back to work in the family businesses, Merrill Blueberry Farms, Merrill Apple Orchards and Merrill Furniture. Another interest of his was scuba diving. He used this skill to locate and remove logs in ponds and lakes all over the state. During this time, he met and married the love of his life, Josephine Astbury. Dickie was a pioneer in the Maine wild blueberry industry, a true farmer, converting a cranberry harvester to a blueberry harvester back in 1970. He had a mechanical mind and could fix or create just about anything.

Dickie was a humble man, and although owner of all the Merrill businesses, he avoided the spotlight. He would rather be underneath a tractor welding the frame or could be seen stringing a blueberry field at 5 a.m. for a field boss. In 1979, his visionary mind knew the business needed to move to a new and larger location, thus the Hancock location for Merrill Blueberry Farms took form. He designed the largest freezer this area had seen, and many family members contributed to the building of such. He also saw the first wild blueberries to ever be frozen through the I.Q.F. process in the area. For his entire life until retirement, he worked long hours and enjoyed doing so. He was a proud member of the Quiet Birdmen (The QB’s) and enjoyed this group of pilots very much. Dickie was always giving someone a hand up or a handout when they were down on their luck. With his family, he was generous and giving.

He is survived by his loving children, Corinna Domagala and husband, Thomas, and Todd Merrill and wife, Kerryn; grandchildren Shaye Lee and husband, Taylor, Mitchell Domagala, Griffin Merrill, Porter Merrill and Hadley Merrill; by his sister Joyce Johnston; sisters-in-law Liz Senter and Thelma Astbury; brothers-in-law John Senter and Lou Wilson, and many other nieces and nephews whom he thought a lot about; and good friends Ed Hatch, John Bartosinski, Nat Fenton and Del Gaspar, with whom he helped to build Eastward Lanes Bowling Alley. He was predeceased in 2010 by his wife of 46 years, Josephine Merrill; his parents; brother, Delmont Merrill, and wife, Betty; sister Constance Wilson; his brothers-in-law Jack Johnston, Wayne Astbury, Dale Astbury and wife, Barbara; nephews Mark Astbury and Bruce Johnston, as well as good friend Ronnie Taylor.

There will be no formal service per Richard’s wishes, but a small celebration of his life for close family and friends will be determined at a later date.

Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St., Ellsworth.

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