Leland G. Merrill, Retired Faculty, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, died on July 28, 2009. Professor Merrill was a member of the Center Coastal Env. Studies.
The funeral service will be private.
Leland G. Merrill Jr., 88, Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University and a Princeton resident for more than 50 years, died July 28.
Born in Illinois, he was raised in Parkersburg, W.Va. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Michigan State University (MSU), where he was an All-American wrestler and won third place in his weight class in the NCAA.
After graduating from MSU in 1942, he entered the U.S. Army and trained in the southwestern U.S., preparing to fight against Rommelís troops in Africa. As the focus of European war shifted, he was sent to the United Kingdom instead and entered France from England via Utah Beach. He left the service as a Major at the age of 25 and entered a Ph.D. program in entomology at Rutgers University. While there he also trained at the New York Athletic Club for the 1948 Olympics in London, returning to Europe to win a bronze medal in wrestling.
After receiving his Ph.D. from Rutgers, he joined the MSU faculty in East Lansing, Mich., where he met Virginia Gilhooley, who would be his wife for over 50 years until her death in 2001.
Prof. Merrill returned to Rutgers in 1953 as a professor and extension specialist, teaching and working with farmers throughout the state as a fruit tree specialist, refereeing intercollegiate wrestling, and serving in the Army reserves. He was named Dean of the College of Agriculture in the 1960s and guided its transition to what is now Cook College. He worked with the Rutgers Marine Science Institute in the 1970s, playing a critical role in gaining National Park status for the New Jersey Pine Barrens and preserving the aquifer that serves much of South Jersey. When he retired as Professor Emeritus from Rutgers, he became coach of the Princeton High School wrestling team for several seasons.
A member of Nassau Presbyterian Church for half a century, he taught Sunday school for many years and served as a Deacon and Elder.
Throughout his life Dr. Merrillís exhaustive knowledge of p
Memorial donations may be made to The New Jersey Academy of Science (www.njas.org), which supports science education and research in the state.
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