GENEVA - H. Merrill Roenke Jr., 98, of Geneva, passed away on Friday, (March 28, 2014) in the Living Center North.
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There will be no prior calling hours. Funeral Services will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, (April 21, 2014), in St. Peter's Episcopal Church. The Very Rev. H. James Adams, Rector will officiate. Burial will be in Glenwood Cemetery at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions, in his memory, may be made to St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Geneva Historical Society or the Geneva Free Library (for large print book purchases).
Merrill was born in March 16, 1916 at his home on Elmwood Ave. and spent his entire life in Geneva. He was the son of the late Henry Merrill and Pauline Young Roenke Sr. He was a graduate of Geneva High School, class of 1934, Hobart College with a BA Degree in 1938, and New York University in 1939 with a MS in retailing. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Hobart College in 1983. Merrill served his country in the US Navy from 1940-66 and retired as a Commander of the USNR; he trained as an Officer at Northwestern University with his brother Gardner, then Woods Hole, MA as the first class of oceanographers in 1940; he served in the Atlantic prior to the war starting in a country (Canada) at war with Germany in 1940-42 and then the Pacific Theater from 1942-46. During war time he earned the American Defense Ribbon with an "A" (denotes serving in a foreign country at war prior to Dec. 7, 1941), the Atlantic Theater Ribbon, the Pacific Theater Ribbon with 4 bronze stars, the Naval Reserve Ribbon, and the WW II Victory Ribbon. He saw action in the capture and Defense of Guadalcanal from 1942-42, Rennell Island in 1943, Aleutians' Operation (Attu) in 1943, Marianna Operations capture and occupation of Saipan in 1944, the Tinian Capture and occupation in 1944 all on board of the USS Louisville CLG. He worked in retail at Gimbels in 1939, and J W Smith Dry Goods from 1946-1976 and eventually became a co-owner before closing. He later became the Rose Hill Administrator of the Geneva Historical Society from 1967 until he retired 2003. He was a 32nd degree Mason, a member of the Geneva Rotary Club from 1949 until present and as treasurer from 1961-71; Winnek Post #396 American Legion, Geneva Historical Society and was a former President; Theta Delta Chi Fraternity; a member of St. Peter's Episcopal Church where he was a senior warden and was a Geneva City Councilman from 1960-64. Merrill received several honor's including the National Trust Award for Preservation in Washington, DC in 1974; Hobart College Outstanding Citizen in 1972; Geneva Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1984; Hobart College Alumni Award in 1988; Ellis Award from the Ontario Historical Society in Canandaigua in 1988.
Surviving are his children, Henry (Lois) Roenke III, Kathleen Sinicropi and Karl G. Roenke; his grandchildren, Laura Crockford, Henry M. Roenke IV, William I. Roenke, Jessica Sinicropi, Keith Roenke, and Michael Sinicropi; his great grandchildren, Joseph, Emma, Natalie, Claire, Henry V, Jack and Peter; two nephews, Gardner F. Roenke and Robert Gary Roenke and one niece, Dale Staples.
He was predeceased by his wife Marion Guess Roenke whom he married in 1943 and his brother Gardner J. Roenke.
For those wishing to write a note of condolence, please visit www.devaneybennettfh.com
Arrangements have been entrusted to the DeVaney-Bennett Funeral Home.
Devaney-Bennett Funeral Home
181 North Main Street Geneva, NY 14456
Published in Finger Lakes Times from Mar. 30 to Apr. 1, 2014