Loren F. Merrill of Bethany Center died on Thursday, April 15, 2021 leaving behind his 100-year-old body to enter into still sweeter communion with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When asked about his age, he would frequently say “I’d like to live to 100, but if I don’t, all the better,” telling us in our grief to rejoice for him because he will be in heaven with his savior whom he loved and served so faithfully. He was a gentle and kind man, a man of integrity, who lived his life according to scripture.
Loren was born Aug. 10, 1921 in Oakfield and graduated from Alexander High School in 1940. He worked at Bell Aircraft in Buffalo and Niagara Falls building and repairing airplanes during WWII. He was a mechanic at Climax in Batavia for 23 years, where he designed and built the first self-propelled bean harvester using hydraulics, oil, and a small motor. His 14-year career at the NY State School for the Blind in Batavia earned him the respect and admiration of students and staff alike. He was honored by the Kiwanis for his work in the Key Club, teaching marketable skills as well as life lessons.
Loren married Avis Embt on March 4, 1948 and designed and built their house on the Bethany Center Road in 1954-55 where together they raised their five children: Glenn & Linda Merrill, Joy Hattendorf, Ann & Greg Miller all of Bethany Center, Ellen & David Bittner of Canandaigua, and Jim & Bethany Merrill of California. Also surviving are 9 grandchildren and their spouses, 15 great-grandchildren, four step-grandchildren and eight step-great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, “adopted children” who are honored to call him “Dad,” and Diggen, his constant feline companion. He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 69 years, Avis (2017), parents Earl and Edna (Myers) Merrill, brother Robert Merrill and son-in-law Rev. Lance Hattendorf.
Loren was an 80+-year member of the Bethany Center Baptist Church where he faithfully and humbly served his God in many capacities. For over 70 years he was caretaker of the Maple Lawn Cemetery in Bethany Center as well as being president for many years.
Loren’s family invites friends and relatives to a funeral service of thanksgiving to God at the Bethany Center Baptist Church on Saturday, April 24 at 12 o’clock noon. The funeral service will be live-streamed and recorded on facebook.com/BCBC4Christ. Visitation will be held at the church also on April 24 from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 3 p.m. Facial coverings and social distancing are expected. Due to COVID-19, the reception will be postponed until summer when we will gather in “The Woods” to honor this incredible man and the selfless gifts he gave to us all. The family gratefully declines flowers and suggests instead that memorials be made to the Maple Lawn Cemetery of Bethany Center or the Bethany Center Baptist Church.
Arrangements were entrusted to the H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home in Batavia. Please leave a condolence, share a story, or light a candle at www.bataviafuneralhomes.com.