Born November 9, 1921 at the family’s farm near Alba, Merrell was one of five sons of the late Harry and Pearl (Auchenbaugh) Freeman. Merrell enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942 and earned the rank of Staff Sergeant. As an airplane turret gunner and later a crew chief, Merrell was involved in over 50 successful missions in the European Campaign of WWII.
He married the former Betty Fay on Nov. 4, 1944 in Springfield Mass. They made their home on the family farm. Merrell, along with his brother Dwight, purchased the dairy, naming it the Rolling Valley Farm. Through their work and planning they enlarged and improved the dairy and earned the Pennsylvania Century Farm distinction.
Merrell always believed in a good day’s work and remained active and involved with family, friends and community throughout his life. After retiring from farming in 1969, he worked for the A & P Corp in Horseheads until its closure. Later, and for several years, he enjoyed helping the farm’s new owners, the Landis brothers.
Merrell was a life member of the Canton V.F.W. Post 714 and the Wheel Inn Club in Roaring Branch. He also was a member of the First Christian Church of Alba and Canton’s Rod and Gun Club where he was honored to earn their Sportsman of the Year Award. Merrell will be lovingly remembered for his warm, caring manor and a wonderful sense of humor.
Surviving are his children; William “Bill” Freeman of Whitneyville and Linda (Don) Snyder of Millerton, two grandchildren; Michelle (Brian,“Baldy”) Bryington of Canton and Russell (Kelly) Freeman of Summers Point, NJ, ten great grandchildren who were his pride and joy; Krista (Brent) Spencer of Millerton, Logan Ward (Amber Robinson) of Canton, Cheyenne Fromille (Gavin Glisson) of Monroeton, Haylee Fromille of Canton, Brady, Brett and Bryce Bryington of Canton, Dustin (Michelle) Pepper of Harbor Twp., NJ, Zachery (Sangeetha) Freeman stationed in Hawaii with the U.S. Coast Guard and Owen Freeman of Somers Point, NJ, four great-great grandchildren; Brayden, Ian, Xander and Jackson, a niece and nephew; Beverly (Gene) Segur of Canton and Philip (Joanne) Freeman of Clifton Springs, NY also several great nieces, great nephews and cousins.
He was predeceased by his beloved wife Betty on July 26, 2000 and four brothers; Charles, Russell (Gerry), Willard (Eva) and Dwight (Deanie) Freeman.
Calling hours are 10 – 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at Pepper Funeral Home, 578 Springbrook Dr. in Canton. Rev. Glen Landis will officiate the funeral service at 11 a.m. followed by interment in Alba Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, his family suggests your consideration of a memorial in Merrell’s name to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517 Topeka, KS 66675, Guthrie Troy Community Hospital, Attn: Resource Development at One Guthrie Square Sayre, PA 18840 or to Western Alliance EMS, P.O. Box 13 Troy, PA 16947.
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