Peter D. Merrill, 78, peacefully passed away on Saturday morning Jan. 26, 2013 at his home in Bozeman.
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Pete's education started with kindergarten at Hathaway Brown School (yes, a girl's school but kindergarten was coeducational!), followed by University School in Cleveland, four years at The Choate School in Wallingford, Conn., and graduation from Shaker Heights High School in 1952. After his freshman year at Cornell University during which he affiliated with Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Pete enlisted in the United States Army.
He served as Tank Commander and Trainer at Fort Knox, Ky. before being assigned to Germany as Tank Commander and subsequently Post Postal Non-Commissioned Officer. Pete returned to Cornell's School of Hotel Administration from 1955-1957 before beginning his business career with Central National Bank of Cleveland for four years, followed by seven years with Republic Steel Corporation where he was assigned to Detroit District Sales. Pete was co-founder of Diebold Computer Leasing, Inc. and CNA Nuclear Leasing, Inc. He was Senior Vice President and Principal of SMB, Inc., a New York-based investment firm prior to his early retirement, allowing more time to enjoy family, friends, and fishing!
While working in Detroit Pete met Caryle Steffee on a blind-date and they married on June 15, 1963. In their 49-plus years of marriage they lived in Detroit suburbs, Naples, Fla. and its surrounding communities and Northern Michigan before having the good fortune and good sense to move to Bozeman in August 1990.
Pete's passion for fishing brought many happy experiences to the family. Pete was an excellent fly caster, teaching at the Trout Unlimited schools in northern Michigan for 14 years, as well as a fine fisherman and fly tyer. His enthusiasm carried over to his family, enabling his daughter Martha to cast a tight loop by age 7! Pete was also a fine shotgun shooter as evidenced by a collection of silver trophies from Pere Marquette Rod and Gun Club. He enjoyed it all!
While in Michigan, Pete served for several years on the Board of Directors of Oakland Family and Children's Services. In Florida Pete served as liaison between the Isles of Capri Volunteer Fire Department and the Naples County Commission in an unending quest to secure funding for Fire and Rescue efforts in that small community.
Upon moving to Bozeman and wishing to earn acceptance in a new community, Pete became a CAP volunteer, skied and swam with Eagle Mount, served on the Board of Big Brothers-Big Sisters and chaired the Bowl for Kids' Sake event, and the Board of Reach Inc. all of which gave him great pleasure. After a chance meeting with one of Bozeman's fine senior citizens on an icy back street in February, Pete was invited to "Come back to visit ... I always have cookies and ginger ale." Thus was born Befrienders which is now starting its 20th year of matching seniors with an MSU student or community volunteer.
Pete is survived by his loving wife, Caryle of Bozeman; his son, Charles Boughton II (and his wife Lisa of Cornelius, N.C.), and his daughter, Martha of Bozeman; grandchildren, Clayton T. and Alexandra A. Merrill; and brother, Barrant V. Merrill (wife Patty) of Delray Beach, Fla.
A celebration of Petes' life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at St. James Episcopal Church in Bozeman.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made to Befrienders at 807 N. Tracy, Bozeman, MT 59715. Our thanks especially to Dr. John Robbins and Hospice of Southwest Montana for their compassionate care to our family. Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Jan. 30 to Jan. 31, 2013