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Merrill Raymond Booth Jr.

Obituary
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Merrill Raymond Booth Jr., 77, with his long-time caregiver and companion at his side, "his treasure," Pat Cognevich, on Friday, November 22, 2013, through God's Grace and Guidance, left on a new adventure. He was born March 5, 1936 to Merrill R. Booth Sr. and Viola Mae Anderson (now deceased) during the Susquehanna River Flood in Harrisburg, PA. He is survived by sisters Eydith Conley, Shirley Scott, brother David K. Booth; children: Debra June, Merrill R. Booth III, Steven, Cynthia, grandchildren and many beloved nieces and nephews. Merrill joined the U.S. Navy at 17 yrs old. He was on the wheel of his ship, USS Marquette, out of Norfolk, VA during Hurricane Hazel, Dec. 1953, in 50ft seas, off Cape Hatteras (the Graveyard of the Atlantic). He heard many May-days and SOSs. Asked by his Captain if he was ready to die he said, "No, Sir!" It was thought that 17 ships and hands were lost during those 3 days at sea. On 5-14-1955, 19 yrs. old, he took part in Operation Wigwam, 600 miles off San Diego, the only deep water Atomic weapon test to be an Atomic Veteran. On 09-10-1956, 20 yrs. old, on the USS Fort Marion he crossed the 180th Meridian into the Domain of the Golden Dragon to become a son of Neptune. After putting in many chits, he was approved for diving school at Bayonne, NJ. Upon completion of his training, he was sent to Korea with his UDT team, now a Korean veteran. He was then sent to a salvage operation off Australia where he had a diving accident 300ft down which he survived nitrogen narcosis. It took 125 times in a decompression chamber for treatment, now 1 in 5000. After a 6 months hospital stay, he was being transferred to the Philippines on a plane with approx. 35 men when the plane crashed. In the water for over 10 hrs., he was 1 of 17 men to survive the shark infested waters. Not being able to dive anymore, he left the U.S. Navy. Sometime later, Merrill joined the U.S. Army, the 101st, "the Screaming Eagles" where he received "Blood Wings." When he left the U.S. Army, it was to take care of his father who had cancer. After his father's death, he joined the Merchant Marines, to travel around the world 14 times on 63 ships. He was also in Vietnam. He won an Expeditionary award while on SS Green Harbor in supporting American & International Coalition Military Forces in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the waters of Southwest Asia. He also made a name for himself as an outstanding Quartermaster & a Repels-Helmsman. He worked many of the Lykes Bros. ships, particularly the Doctor Lykes. He was often called "the Pied Piper of Children" as he would visit the different foreign orphanages to donate to the nuns and play with the children. He survived a 300ft diving accident, 2 plane crashes, and 3 ship wrecks. Merrill also worked for MMR Construction, Inc. as an industrial electrician. He was given many duties as he worked untiringly. He was considered an asset to MMR, working under Barry B. Blalock Sr. Merrill was a Master Gunsmith that was well known in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, and up and down the East Coast. There was never a gun he could not repair and his bluing of guns was considered better than factory as he mixed his own chemicals. Merrill's Ace Gun Repair was known in Fort Worth, TX and Gretna, LA. He was an accomplished carpenter, working on Reddings Trailers and as a finishing carpenter. He built government housing, airplanes working with metals in TX. He was responsible for 7 facial repairs of children through the Smile Train. He had many friends whom he helped. Merrill always had a smile, a joke, and a helping hand with a strong belief that God was always near him, with guardian angels protecting him in all things he did. Merrill will be sadly missed by all that knew him and by those who did not get a chance to know him. Pat wishes to thank the staff at Ormand Nursing Care for all the kindness and care, particularly the Alzheimer's unit, Denise, Anne Marie and others. Also, the staff of St. Catherine's Hospice. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to: , LA Chapter, One Lakeway,3900 N. Causeway Blvd., Ste 1200, Metairie, LA 70002-7235 Or Smile TrainP.O. Box 96231, Washington DC, 20090-6231. A visitation will be held at MOTHE FUNERAL HOME, 2100 Westbank Expressway, Harvey, LA on Saturday, November 30, 2013 from 9:30AM until 1PM. Funeral Services will be held at the funeral home on Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 1PM. Interment will be private. Family and friends may view and sign the online guestbook at www.mothefunerals.com.
Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from Nov. 28 to Nov. 30, 2013
Funeral Home
Mothe Funeral Home Harvey
2100 Westbank Expressway Harvey, LA 70058
(504) 367-3920
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