WILLIAMSBURG - Merle Eugene Bounds, 87, a long-time resident of Williamsburg, died peacefully on November 2, 2013 after a long struggle with dementia. Mr. Bounds' life was the story of the 20th century. Born in the Roaring Twenties, he spent his early childhood on a farm in dust bowl Oklahoma. As a young teenager, he left home to work in the oil fields and then in the shipyards of Long Beach, CA. At 16, he enlisted in the United States Marines and fought in the Pacific in World War II. After the war, he attended Oklahoma State University on the G.I. Bill, then was commissioned into the United States Army as a reserve officer. He fell in love with and married a Virginia school teacher, Nancy Heffernan, in 1951. He flew fixed wing aircraft and early helicopters in the Korean War, served in Cold War Europe, flew helicopters during two tours of Vietnam and retired from the Army in the early 70's with numerous commendations including two Bronze Stars and three individual Air Medals. In 1965, he built a home in Williamsburg, VA. After retiring from the Army, he worked for the predecessor to Sun Trust Bank in Williamsburg, retiring as a Vice President after a full second career. He was a long-time parishioner of St. Bede Catholic Church and a member of the Kiwanis Club. After retirement, he traveled widely with his wife and enjoyed visiting his children and grandchildren. After his wife's death in 2008, Mr. Bounds lived in Windsor Meade of Williamsburg until moving to assisted living in Northern Virginia to be near a daughter in 2012. Mr. Bounds is survived by his children, Kevin B. Bounds of Virginia Beach, Ann Bounds Newell of McLean, and Jane Dannehl Strautz of Onley, six grandchildren, his oldest sister, Gladys Presnell and his youngest brother, Gary L. Bounds. A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Bede Catholic Church, 3686 Ironbound Rd., Williamsburg, VA at 11:00 on Saturday, November 16th.
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Published in Daily Press on Nov. 12, 2013