Barbara Merrill, 96, of Solon, Maine, died at home, surrounded by family and friends the morning of April 2, 2019. Barbara was born Aug. 21, 1922, in Northampton, Mass., to the late Dr. Frank E. and Marion (Dole) Dow. She was the youngest of four children and is predeceased by siblings, Eleanor, Richard and Harriet.
Barbara graduated from Northampton School for Girls (Williston Northampton) and earned her undergraduate degree at Tufts University, Jackson division and then went on to Andover Newton Theological School–Newton Center for her master’s degree in religious education.
In February 1948, while working as the director of the Sunday school and supervisor of the young people’s groups at the Congregational Church in Brunswick, Barbara met John Merrill, who had volunteered to substitute teach a Sunday school class for one of his Bowdoin fraternity brothers. Three weeks after their first meeting, Barbara and John became engaged, and three months later, on June 5, they married.
After living two years in Boston, while John attended law school, the couple moved to Skowhegan in 1952 to raise their family. Barbara soon thereafter opened the Pied Piper Nursery School, which she ran for ten years out of the municipal building. She then became an elementary school teacher for S.A.D. 54 for 17 years. Barbara was also active in the Women’s Club, the D.A.R., women’s republican groups and the Women’s Circle at the Federated Church, where she also sang in the choir for many years and, more recently, was a member of the Bible study group. She joined Somerset Chapter #53, O.E.S., in Skowhegan in January of 1958.
Over the years she held many offices, including chaplain and Worthy Matron; her favorite Star Point office was Martha. When Barbara and John moved year-round to South Solon in 1978, they became active in Solon’s Keystone Chapter #78, O.E.S., and, again, Barbara served as Worthy Matron and multiple terms as Martha. She remained active with the Eastern Star through 2017.
Barbara is survived by her son, William (Carrie), daughter, Harriet (Glen) and son, Frank (Nancy); as well as her grandchildren, Reagan (Mike) Hovasse, Sean (Katie) Merrill and Alaena Merrill; and five great-grandchildren: Taylor, Lyric, Cameron, Phoenix and Lux.
The family would like to thank homecare givers, Sherry Bacon, Dawn Elizabeth Bersani and Cynthia Pine for their loving care of and friendship given to their mother. They would also like to thank the staffs of the Redington-Fairview Hospital and the Northern Lights Home Care & Hospice for the amazing care and compassion they extended to Barbara and her family during the last year of Barbara’s life. The work these dedicated professionals do is a gift and blessing to those they serve.
A celebration of Barbara’s life will be held Saturday, May 4 at 11 a.m., at the Federated Church in Skowhegan.
Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Smart & Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan, Maine. Memorial contributions can be made to: Northern Light Home Care & Hospice, 50 Foden Rd., South Portland, ME 04106.