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Mr. Arthur Lee Merritt III was born Dec. 12, 1927. He was the son of the late Arthur Lee Merritt Jr. and Grace Coleman Merritt. He was preceded in death by a son, Michael Jerome Merritt; and a brother, William Bernard Merritt.

He accepted Christ as his Savior at the age of 12, under the leadership of the Rev. S.A. Brown and joined Shiloh Baptist Church, Chesterfield, Va. Later in life, experiencing the Pentecostal Movement, he was baptized in the name of Jesus at Cornerstone Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Petersburg, Va., where he worshiped until the Lord called him home.

He was educated in Chesterfield County Public Schools (Matoaca Elementary and D. Webster Davis High School).

He was married to the late Elva Odessa Dyson Merritt Banks. This union was blessed with seven children, and later to Jean Merritt of Richmond, Va. He joined the United States Army in January 1946, after a brief tour of duty with the United States Navy. He served in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and was stationed in the countries of France and Germany. From humble beginnings to his many travels around the world he served his country faithfully and honorably until finally retiring from military life in 1968, as a United States Army staff sergeant.

Upon relocating to Victoria, Va., he united with Cedar Creek Baptist Church, Kenbridge, Va., under the pastorate of the Rev. G.W. Pugh, where he served faithfully and untiring for Christ. He was a devoted member of the Missionary Ministry, a member of the Usher Board and the choir, and a valuable asset to the church during its period of remodeling. He was also a knowledgeable and valued Sunday School teacher.

He is survived by two brothers, Eugene M. Merritt of Baltimore, Md., and Winston L. Merritt of Fort Washington, Md.; four sisters, Ercelle C. Berry of Pennsylvania, Maxine Jackson (Melvin) of Ettrick, Va., Grace M. Berry of Suitland, Md., and Jean Dorsey of Passaic, N.J.; six children, Howard Lee Merritt (Joan) of Petersburg, Va., Arthurette Odessa Merritt Harper (James) of Petersburg, Va., Thomas DeHaven Merritt (Alice) of Burlington, N.C., Michele Denise Merritt Jones (Norman), Debora Yvonne Merritt, Kenneth Darrell Merritt and Betty Huff, all of Petersburg, Va.; 14 grandchildren, Quinn Merritt, Thomas Merritt Jr., Michael Merritt Jr., Dawn Harris, Krystal Merritt, Freddie Hicks Jr., Sedrick Jones, Marcus Merritt, Deonshae Merritt, Shamika Merritt, James Harper Jr., Chrysha Harper, Selvon Jones, Alisha Merritt, and Lakeisha Merritt; 12 great-grandchildren, Quan Rives, Brandon Merritt, Brianna Merritt, Keysha Merritt, Vonkeia Lewis, Brice Harris, Ayana Harris, Shania Merritt, Thomas Merritt III, Tarren Merritt, Demoni Harris, Christopher Merritt, Tyler Merritt and Rylin Jones; daughter-in-law, Sherlyn Merritt of Dinwiddie, Va., and numerous great-great-grandchildren, friends, and other relatives.

Service for Mr. Arthur L. Merritt III will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, May 29, 2014, at the Greater Faith A.M.E. Zion Church, 1301 Youngs Road, Petersburg, Va., the Rev. Dr. Audrey Jones, pastor, officiating, and Elder Johnson, eulogist. Interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at 3704 Dupuy Road, Petersburg, Va., and may be contacted by calling 804-526-9494.

Family members and friends are invited to pay final tribute to Mr. Merritt at

Funeral arrangements entrusted to the staff of J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment Inc., 102 South Ave., Petersburg, Va., 804-732-8911,
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J M Wilkerson Funeral Establishment, Inc.
102 South Avenue
Petersburg, VA 23803
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Published in The Progress-Index from May 23 to May 27, 2014
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