MERCK--Albert. Albert Wall Merck died peacefully at his home in Lexington, MA. on July 22. Following an early career at Merck & Co., he devoted decades of his life to public service in the fields of politics, education and philanthropy. He was born on August 31, 1920, the second son of George W. Merck, and Josephine Wall Merck. He was raised in Llewellyn Park, West Orange, NJ, and New York City, where he attended St. Bernard's School. He graduated from St. George's School in Newport, RI in 1939. His college years at Harvard were interrupted by the war, during which time he served as a first lieutenant in the field artillery in the Pacific. He returned to Harvard after the war, but chose to be included in the class of 1943. Mr. Merck married Katharine Evarts in 1946. They were devoted to each other for the following 68 years. Mr. Merck began his career at Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical company established in New York by his grandfather in 1890. The company originated with E. Merck of Darmstadt, Germany. In the mid-1960s Mr. Merck turned his attention to education and public service. He earned Masters degrees in Education at Columbia University and Rutgers University. Among many board memberships he served on the Boards of St. George's School and Westminster Choir College. He also served on Board of the Regional Plan Association from 1961 to 1987. He was Chairman of the RPA in the 1960s during a period of rapid expansion of the New York metropolitan area. In 1971, Mr. Merck was elected to the New Jersey Assembly, representing the portion of Morris County that includes Mendham, where he and his family were located for 47 years. Upon the advent of casino gambling in New Jersey, Mr. Merck was appointed to the Casino Control Commission by Gov. Brendan Byrne. He enjoyed the challenge of applying ethical principles to the work of the Commission and often found himself at odds with the casino interests. During the 1980's Mr. Merck served as Chairman of the New Jersey Board of Higher Education. He also held a seat on the Board of Merck & Co. for many years, retiring in 1993. In 1998 Mr. and Mrs. Merck moved to Brookhaven in Lexington, MA where he embarked on another phase of public service. He worked tirelessly to accelerate the adoption of information technology in the field of teaching and learning. These projects involved a wide variety of institutions including the Friends Academy of North Dartmouth, St. George's School, Lesley University and Harvard Graduate School of Education. Mr. Merck's family life included travel and summers in Mattapoisett, MA. He enjoyed sailing, fishing, reading, singing, and playing the piano. A raconteur and family patriarch, he delighted friends and family with anecdotes, wit and a superb grasp of history. Mr. Merck was pre-deceased by his daughter Katharine, and is survived by his wife Katharine, his son Albert in California, Friedrike Merck of Bearsville, NY, Patience Chamberlin of Exeter, NH, and Wilhelm Merck of Hamilton, MA. He had eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Published in New York Times on Jul. 24, 2014.