LUDLOW, Vt. – How do you write an obituary for a man who always seemed to have nine lives? A man who worked so hard overcoming the life obstacles that would have broken many? A man whose most wanted dream of becoming a dairy farmer never played out? Well, Ed Merrill “Bought the Farm” Aug. 21, 2021 at the age of 90.
Ed was the third child, first son, of Eben and Clara (Smith) Merrill. He resided in the town of Ludlow most of his life. He attended Black River High but dropped out before graduating. Cutting Christmas trees, sugaring, plowing with his team of horses, learning carpentry skills, haying and hunting the elusive white tails with his brothers, relatives, and friends, took up most of his time. He didn’t shy away from hard physical work. He was drafted into the Army during the Korean Conflict, stationed in Germany. He came home only to be injured in a farm truck accident, leaving him in a body cast for a year. He went to work for GE as many other men did.
He was introduced to Elizabeth “Betty” Otis from Springfield, Vt. They married in 1957 and finally settled on North Hill and built their family home, which still stands today. They raised two children on that property, all the while Ed searched for his “farm.” Ed helped his brother Alan with his farm down the hill, still dreaming of his own. Ed was a nighttime mechanic for the Barker Brothers while they were building the interstate system in Vermont. He made sure the trucks were ready for the next day’s work.
Ed still longed to be working outside and left GE to work for the town of Ludlow. He had to retire after another truck accident. His marriage to Betty sadly ended when she died Aug. 21, 1988. Ed kept himself busy remodeling his home and helping his family.
In 1991, Ed proposed to Joan M. McLean, who was his daughter’s sister-in-law. They married and lived together with Joan’s two children in St. Gabriel, La., for three years. Ed wanted to return to Vermont and convinced Joan to quit her job, sell her home, and move with him. They spent many a weekend in New York, Vermont, and neighboring New Hampshire looking at farms. Ed’s dream of having a farm was still there, and he hoped it would finally happen. As life would have it, Ed’s health prevented that from happening.
Joan will sadly miss Ed along with daughter Peggy M. McLean, Peggy’s husband Patrick; son Edwin Jr.; stepdaughter Misha McNabb; grandson Benjamin McLean, Ben’s fiancé Brandi Vittum; granddaughter Aaron Shoats; and faithful companion Collin.
Those who have predeceased Ed: Eben and Clara (Smith) Merrill; sisters Elloise McNulty, Anna (Mert) Merrill, Margie Spence; his brothers Alan, James, and David Merrill; wife Betty Otis Merrill; and stepson Aaron W. McNabb.
Per Ed’s wishes, a Celebration of his Life will be held Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. at the Pleasant View Cemetery in Ludlow, Vt. Please dress casually. That was Ed’s preference: jeans and flannel shirts. Don’t forget your camp chair. Due to Covid, this will be the only “gathering place” for this celebration.
In lieu of flowers, please support your local dairy farms. Help keep their Dream Alive!