Horace Sellers Merrill

Obituary
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  • "To the Merrill family and friends so, sorry for your..."
    - Dora Ervin
  • "So sorry for your loss. Horace was a leader in Cleburne..."
  • "With regret I heard of Horace's passing. I knew the family..."
    - Bobbie Cavender Van Dyke
  • "My husband was a long time friend of Horace. He was such a..."
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    - Alice Geer
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Horace Sellers Merrill, 80, died on February 17, 2017. Mr. Merrill was born on October 15, 1936, in Micaville. He was the son of Emory Joseph and Grace Allen Merrill. Mr. Merrill graduated from Cleburne County High School in 1954, where he was a very competitive athlete, lettering in baseball and football. After graduating, he attended Southern Union Junior College in Wadley on an athletic scholarship until an automobile accident ended his athletic career in 1957. Mr. Merrill then entered the workforce at Dixie Mines Mica Mining Company. He married Mary Inez Thompson of Anniston, Alabama on June 1, 1963. Like many other members of his family, Mr. Merrill always held a strong interest in politics. After receiving encouragement from his father and wife, he entered the political arena in 1964 and was elected Circuit Clerk of Cleburne County. He served as Circuit Clerk for 12 years, while also participating in various civic, professional, and social organizations including the Lions Club, Jaycees, and Athletic Boosters Club where he served as President of each. He also assisted in the organization of the first youth baseball program in Heflin, where he officiated, as well as, coached in the 1960's and 1970's. He also served as the public address announcer for Little League Football and Jr. High Football games. After completing two terms as Circuit Clerk, Mr. Merrill was elected Probate Judge and Chairman of the Cleburne County Commission in 1976, a position he held for one six-year term. While serving as Probate Judge, he led the effort to purchase land and develop plans for the construction of the State of Alabama Welcome Center and Rest Area on I-20. He had a vision for a county-wide water system to service all citizens of Cleburne County through the Dyne Creek Watershed project that was supported by Congressman Bill Nichols and Senator Howell Heflin that he was not able to complete before the end of his term. In addition to his political career, Mr. Merrill was an active participant in the Cleburne Baptist Association, where he served as an officer and pastor of several churches. His pastorates included Happy Hill, Cedar Creek, Pinetucky (Interim), Chulafinnee, and Edwardsville Baptist Churches. As a member of Heflin Baptist for more than fifty years, Mr. Merrill served as a Deacon, Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School Teacher, Church Training Director, and Sanctuary Choir member. He is survived by his loving wife and companion of 53 years, Mary Thompson Merrill; his son, Alabama Secretary of State John Harold Merrill (Cindy), of Tuscaloosa; his daughter, Audrey Merrill Gillis (Stephen), of Montgomery; his grandchildren Pelham Brooks Merrill, of Tampa, Florida, Alexandra Grace Merrill, of Queens, New York, Mary Kathryn Gillis, and Sarah Sellers Gillis, of Montgomery; his sister Doris Sue Belcher, of Vestavia Hills, and his brother Stanley Merrill (Sue), of Heflin, and many other caring friends and family members. Pallbearers will be Pelham Brooks Merrill, Stanley Merrill, Tommy Merrill, David Belcher, Greg Belcher, Stephen Gillis, Winston Bryant, and Mayor Rudy Rooks. Visitation will be held at Dryden Funeral Home, 1467 Almon Street, Heflin today, February 19, 2017, from 2-5 p.m. Funeral service will be held on Monday, February 20, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Dryden Funeral Home Chapel. Dr. Larry Riddle will preside over the service. Interment will follow the service at the Heflin City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Heflin Boy Scout Troop 206, 466 Evans Street, Heflin AL, 36264, Girl Scouts of America in Heflin, the Big Oak Ranch, P. O. Box 507, Springville AL, 35146, or Heflin Baptist Church, 155 Almon Street, Heflin AL, 36264. Online condolences can may made on our website at drydenfuneralhome.com.
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Dryden Funeral Home
1467 Almon Street
Heflin, AL 36264
(256) 463-2287
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Published in The Anniston Star on Feb. 19, 2017