HARTWICK – Frank Merrifield, 85, presiding overseer of the Schuyler Lake Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, died Nov. 1, 2017, at Focus Rehabilitation & Nursing Center at Otsego.
He was born Sept. 20, 1932, in Girard, Ohio, to Walter and Lida (Goist) Merrifield.
From infancy, Frank was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and at the age of 12 was baptized, beginning his lifelong dedication to serving his God, Jehovah. As a youngster he enjoyed raising goats and playing tag.
His first job in high school was at Isley Dairy making Klondike Ice Cream Bars in Youngstown, Ohio, where he was one of the best customers. He graduated from Girard’s Liberty High School in 1950.
Leaving home at 18, he began eight years of service at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn (now in Warwick). There he worked as a linotype operator in the printing factory. Later he transferred to Kingdom Farm in South Lansing to work as a beef feeder. It was there he met two lifelong friends, Dale Bostick and Wayne Rauscher.
In 1958, Frank met the love of his life, Millie Sterusky, from Edmeston. They married Sept. 19, 1959, and had a beautiful union for 58 years. They made a home first in Schuyler Lake and then for 50 years in Hartwick.
For 35 years, Frank worked as an insurance agent for Mutual of Omaha, where his clients became his good friends.
What Frank was most known for was the lead he took in the Schuyler Lake Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He loved reading and studying the Bible and teaching people about the hope it holds out for everlasting life here on Earth. In the door-to-door ministry, two of his favorite scriptures to share were Revelation 21:3 and 4 and Psalm 37:29.
Frank could often be seen mowing his lawn on his John Deere tractor and took great pride in gardening and yard work. For a time, he also enjoyed spending winters in Palm Springs, Calif., where enjoying the sunshine was a highlight of his life. He loved people and his outgoing personality and good sense of humor made him the life of many a party.
He is survived by many dear friends in both the Schuyler Lake and Oneonta Congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses; his wife, Mille; his two daughters, Ginger (Tim) Lucas of Bridgehampton and Melissa (Duane) Piatt of Soldotna, Alaska; and grandchildren Zoe Lucas, Zack Piatt and Eve Piatt.
A memorial service will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 7396 State Highway 28, Schuyler Lake.
The Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown is serving the family.