Richard Merritt, died on 10/31/2011.
Viewing: Sunday, Nov. 6, 2-4, 7-9 p.m., Van Arsdale Funeral Home, 111 North Gaston Ave., Somerville, NJ 08876
Funeral Mass: Monday, Nov. 7, 10 a.m., Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, 60 Maple Street, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Richard H. Merritt passed away October 31, 2011 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J., at the age of 78, after two months of illness. Dr. Richard (“Dick”) Merritt started at Rutgers in 1950 as a student at Rutgers College, and except for his service as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, never left – he became an instructor at Rutgers in 1956 and has worked there ever since. He was elected a Loyal Son of Rutgers in 2007. A Professor of Plant Biology and Pathology, he served as Director and Dean of Resident Instruction for many years and was a leader in the creation of Rutgers University’s Cook College (now School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, SEBS). He subsequently advised the Mayaguez campus of the University of Puerto Rico and was integral in internationalizing education, forming several partnerships between Rutgers and schools abroad, helping to create new institutions in Costa Rica, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and the Sultanate of Oman. He directed the precursor to the International Programs Office at SEBS and the Study of Food Systems Project under the Mid-Atlantic Consortium, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. His recent research focused on lily breeding and systems to enhance production of lily bulbs. Dick taught undergraduate courses Introduction to Horticulture and Tropical Agriculture Systems. He was an active and caring adviser to numerous students and strong supporter and adviser of the SEBS Helyar House (a cooperative living group). He was an avid gardener and was generous with agricultural advice at his summer home on Fogo Island, Newfoundland.
He leaves behind his beloved wife, Bonnie McCay Merritt, sister Joan Spielman, daughters Lori Merritt, Jeanne Hertrich, and Caroline Benard, sons Richard William and James Howard Merritt, and seven grandchildren. Dick Merritt was a valued and beloved colleague, teacher, advisor, mentor, friend, husband, brother, father and grandfather. He will be missed.
Merritt Scholarship: In lieu of flowers, those interested in making a donation may contribute to a memorial fund to benefit undergraduate students at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University. Please make out checks to the “Rutgers University Foundation” and include Richard Merritt's name in the note. Donations can be sent to Kelly Watts, Associate Dean of Development, Suite 111, 88 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.
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