"He will live on through the people he touched."
Virgil Dean Merritt, 82, passed away peacefully on February 4, 2017 in Naples, FL surrounded by his family.
He is survived by his wife, Grace Bucarelli-Merritt; step-daughter, Claudia and Robert Russell; and step-grandchildren, Sarah, Alexandra, and Isabella Russell. He has a son and daughter, Clayton and Heather Merritt; grandchildren, Alyssa, Sean Patrick, Ruth, Bailey, Conner; and 2 nieces, Yolynda (Roy) Conrad and Lesley Beth Fassero.
Dean was born and raised in Taylorville, IL. He was the son of parents who owned motion picture theaters and a business that was named Dean's Potato Chips. He was active in sports, participating in three sports and becoming a member of the Taylorville High School Hall of Fame. Dean was a US Army veteran who served in the Sixth Armored Division, Finance Corps and Special Services as a motion picture projectonist supervisor. He graduated from Millikin University and obtained two advanced degrees from Southern Ilinois University in Edwardsville, IL.
But to know Dean as a man, one must look to the impact on the youth in his charge as an educator, where he was found to be an honest, good, kind, fair, strong, and compassionate person. He loved life and everything it had to offer. He was devoted to his loving family and friends, and he would like to leave life thinking that he made a difference by expecting the best one had to offer in every aspect of life. As a cornerstone to his life, he enjoyed helping others and in seeing the progress they made throughout life. He strived to lead his family to have a productive quality of life and to surround themselves with a faith of their choice.
Funeral services will be on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at Hodges Funeral Home at Naples Memorial Gardens, 525 111th Avenue North, Naples, FL 34108. Visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. followed by services from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Hodges Funeral Home Chapel.
Virgil Dean Merritt will be interred at Lake View Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home at 5000 North Illinios, Fairview Heights, IL 62208.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Avow Hospice, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 334105.