Strickland Funeral Home
1901 South Highway 19
Crystal River, FL 34429
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John Merlino

1923 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
John Merlino Obituary
John Merlino, 92, of Homosassa, passed on to his heavenly Father on Feb. 23, 2016.
He was born in Taranta Peligna, Italy, on June 22, 1923. He came to this country in August 1929 with his mother and his sister aboard the S.S Augustus to join his father who had been in the United States since 1923. He endured remarkable hardships on his journey to America, but he still had vivid and wonderful memories of passing thru "The Pillars of Hercules" (Straits of Gibraltar), playing on board the ship, running up and down the stairwells like any 6-year-old would, and being overcome with joy upon entering New York Harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty on his way to Ellis Island for processing.
It was an immigrant's story straight out of the history books. He didn't speak English when he arrived, but he learned. He truly lived the American Dream. He grew up in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, a small town near Pittsburgh. After graduating high school, he joined the Navy in 1942, serving in the Pacific Theater during World War II as a radio man on a Catalina flying boat surveillance plane. He regarded his time in service as one of the highlights of his life.
After the war, he met Frances, the love of his life, while they both worked at the Water Authority in Turtle Creek. They were married 60 years.
He and a partner started at plastics business in his father's garage. Over time, they managed to grow the business exponentially, building many plants and finally building a state of the art factory for plastics injection molding near State College, Pa. He eventually sold the business to the Ball Jar Co. and continued working as a consultant.
He and Frances moved to Homosassa so they could play golf year-round. They loved to travel, usually playing golf wherever they went. They played more than 75 courses all over the U.S. and the world, and kept a souvenir golf ball from each course. His favorite was Pebble Beach. Watching the pros play Pebble on TV, he said he could recall every detail.
When his pulmonary fibrosis made him stop playing golf, he continued to follow the tournaments in season. This was the only thing that made the football off-season interesting. He was an avid Steelers fan. He loved football, both pro and college. A Sunday afternoon watching football with him on the Red Zone Channel could be a real workout. He and Frances hosted an annual super bowl party for many years.
He was very much a detail man and took great pleasure and pride in the home he built and maintained in Sugarmill Woods.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Corindo and Antoinetta Merlino, and his wife, Frances. He is survived by Christina and Ed Bunnell, Melissa, Jim Ed, Kayla and Jason Martin, and John Bunnell and Kelly. John lived 92 wonderful years and had great stories to tell about them. He worked hard, played hard and loved life. He was a great, kind and generous man; he will be greatly missed by both friends and family.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at the Sugarmill Woods Country Club, Wednesday, March 30, at 1:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Hospice of Citrus County, P.O. Box 641270, Beverly Hills, FL 34464.
Arrangements are under the direction of Strickland Funeral Home and Crematory, Crystal River.
Published in Citrus County Chronicle on Mar. 4, 2016
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