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On July 7, 2023, in his town of residence, Macon, Georgia, Roger David Merihew passed away peacefully in his sleep at age 76. Services will be held Thursday, July 27, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at Marathon Memorial Chapel, 4071 State Route 221, Marathon, NY.
Roger was born to Charles Merihew Sr. and Erma (Stafford) Merihew in Cortland, New York on November 13, 1946. He grew up alongside his siblings, Charles Jr., Elsa, Samuel, and Loren (who passed away in early childhood). Roger loved his siblings and family dearly, and often told great stories about their childhood. He enjoyed fishing, climbing trees, and all outdoors activities in the countryside of Homer, New York. Roger often spoke fondly of Pastor Thorne, who taught him that if you feel more comfortable talking to God under an apple tree than in a church, “you better be under that apple tree.” Roger carried these views throughout his life and maintained a firm belief in God.
Roger’s love for helping others began in childhood and continued throughout life. He fondly remembered his time assisting in his father’s business, Comet Baseball bats. He loved his mom’s cooking. He also enjoyed helping family members on the farm and going fishing. He treasured his time working for Ames Chevrolet and was always eager to help his own daughters with their vehicles.
At age 17, with the intention of traveling and especially seeing Paris, Roger enlisted in the army. He enjoyed meeting new people, trying new foods, and was a dedicated soldier. He explored Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Germany. During this period of his life, he also married Elizabeth Acklin on April 14, 1974, and was blessed with his first two daughters, Elizabeth Ann and Tina Marie. Roger often rode his motorcycle and enjoyed bringing his daughters with him. They fondly remember these special moments with their dad.
Roger thrived in the Army as a recipient of the Bronze Star, Army Service Ribbon, Vietnam Service Medal, Expert Badge (in M-16 & .45 cal pistol), and a lengthy list of other achievements. He often reminisced about his work with Ghost Troup, who he trained from being the worst Troop to the best. Roger often stated that real leaders “lead from the front.” He led his troops as first sergeant, and they affectionately referred to him as “Top.” Roger was passionate about helping young men by building up their self-esteem and skills. He also ran a successful roofing company, owned a bar, worked as a lineman, and was an accomplished boxer. Roger Merihew retired as Master Sergeant from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama where he was preparing for Desert Storm. Master Sergeant Merihew retired in 1991 after 27 years in the Army and began his next chapter in life.
While stationed in Germany, Roger met his wife Kornelia (Zick) Merihew. Roger often reminisced about approaching her while she was munching on peanuts at a local guesthouse. Upon introducing himself as “Merihew,” Kornelia was astounded; “Marry you?” she said, “I just met you!” The two had a marriage full of laughter and love. Their daughter Hazel Ashley was born in 1993. They shared 31 years of marriage.
Upon his retirement, Roger decided to switch gears in his career. In 1993, age 47 he graduated from Douglas MacArthur Technical College in Opp, Alabama with a degree in industrial electronics.
Roger, Kornelia, and Hazel left Alabama later in 1993 and moved to Macon, Georgia. Roger spent 5 years working for Macon Power before beginning his work with Southern Electricom Company, where he worked for 15 years. He made many beloved friends in his work both as a soldier and as an electrician.
Roger entertained those around him with his clever sense of humor. He was also an excellent public speaker and told great stories. Roger could uplift and encourage those around him. He had many memorable quotes, such as, “if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.” Roger was also known for his love for animals, both in the wild and pets. Roger believed in respect for the earth and for others.
Roger is dearly loved by his entire family. Roger’s family in New York admires his leadership, humor, and strength. “Uncle Roger,” had the best cookouts and was the source of so much laughter. From their dating days on, Roger and Kornelia’s German family members loved sharing time, meals, and laughter with the couple. A running family joke is to call all turkeys and chickens that we are eating for dinner, “Henry.” Roger is cherished by his extended family in Germany and those in New York.
Most of all, Roger was a loving husband and father. He was always so proud of his children and grandchildren and loved them very much. Roger was an excellent teacher and gave his daughters the tools for success in life. Roger and his wife Kornelia were grateful for the simple things in life, like going to Sunday lunch in Friesen. They were often seen relaxing and talking together on the deck, watching the animals playing outdoors. They loved planning, preparing, and enjoying meals together. His memory lives on through those who admire and love him.
Roger is survived by his wife Kornelia, his three daughters Tina, Elizabeth, and Hazel, and his six grandchildren, John, Shelby, Garrett, Ethan, Issac, and Abria. His parents Charles and Erma and his siblings, Charles Jr., Elsa, Samuel, and Loren predecease Roger.