Obituary for Eugene N. Merrill
Donated by Connie Schachel
Mr. Eugene N. Merrill, age 88, of 315 W. Jefferson Street, Port Washington, passed away on Thursday, February 16, 2006 after a brief illness. Gene was born July 7, 1917 in Geneva, Fillmore County Nebraska, the son of the late Hallie and Mathilda Dondlinger Merrill. He moved to Port Washington with his family as a child and graduated from Port Washington High School
On August 17, 1940 he married Marie Winnemuller at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the couple had six children. Marie passed away in January, 1971.
On June 9, 1973 he married Mary Ann Zukaitis in Port Washington. She died in July 1986.
On August 27, 1988 he married Marian Wetor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
During the late 30’s and early 40’s Gene and his band, The Men of Note, were one of the most popular big bands in the area, playing for dances at the Schroeter and other large hotels, and at ballrooms like the Blue Dahlia, and the Hollywood in Chicago, for College and University proms all around the Midwest and at many weddings.
For more than 40 years, Gene was a well know grocer in the city of Port Washington. He was active in the Port Washington Yacht Club serving as commodore, the Port Washington Kiwanis Club, the Holy Name Society at St. Mary’s Church and was an usher at St. Peter of Alcantra. In 1975, he retired from the grocery business but kept busy through affiliations with McKay Nursery and the Port Washington/Saukville School District.
Gene loved his family and his friends. He never met a person he didn’t like. His yard was his pride and joy and he enjoyed visiting there with neighbors and friends. He and Marian were part of a “travel club” and together visited destinations throughout the United States. They made wonderful music together and often entertained at nursing homes and at the Senior Center.
Gene is survived by his wife, Marian, four daughters, Connie (Keith) Schachel, Sheboygan, Phyllis (Jeffrey) Townsend, Port Washington, Susanne (fiancé, Mark Brunner), Cedarburg and Karen, Highpoint, N.C. and the late Dennis (Susan) Merrill. He is further survived by his sister, Maxine Bartelt, nine grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, a special nephew, Ned Bartelt, many nieces and nephews and other relatives and friends. In addition he leaves four step-sons, Tom Zukaitis, Denver Colorado, Steve Zukaitis, Milwaukee, Dan (Susan) Wetor, Milwaukee and Paul Wetor, Wauwatosa, WI.
He was preceded in death by his first and second wives, his sons, Allen, in 1971 and Dennis who also died on Thursday, just hours before his dad, his grandson, Eric Townsend, a great-granddaughter, Jessica Schroeter and a special nephew, Daniel Bartelt.
A mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Thursday, February 23 at 6:00 PM. Visitation will be held at the church from 5:00 until the time of services. Inurnment will be at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetary. Eernisse Funeral home is serving the family. A memorial fund has been established in Gene’s name.