Robert Paul Merkel, 81, of Harrisville passed away in his home from congestive heart failure on Sunday, May 9, 2021. Robert was born on March 11, 1940 in Cadillac, Michigan to David and Marian (Johnson) Merkel. He grew up in Oscoda and Bad Axe, Michigan. He was educated at Central Michigan University and earned a PhD at the University of Michigan. In 1963 he married Carolyn Kay Osborn in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Their sons are Robert Bruce and David Paul Merkel. Robert began teaching at Suttons Bay Public Schools in 1962. He also taught at Swan Valley in Saginaw. He started vocal music and track programs in both schools. In 1967 he developed and implemented the music program at Monroe County Community College where he taught both music and English classes. He conducted the Monroe Chamber Singers and the Monroe Symphony Orchestra. He was the founding member and president of the Monroe City-County Fine Arts Council. He won the Outstanding Faculty Award in 1986 and was Grand Marshall at the commencement ceremony in 1998. He played trumpet professionally with the Saginaw Symphony and the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra as well as a number of jazz bands. As an avid writer, he prided himself on his ability to research and edit. His published works include Pastor John, A Brief History of the Springport Area, and A History of Freemasonry in Alcona County from 1871-2021. His book, A Guide to Format Your Research Paper, was a best selling book in the MCCC bookstore for many years. Robert was always active in his church. He was congregational president and Deacon at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Ida, Michigan, and and Elder in charge of finance and Mission at Westminster Presbyterian in Harrisville, Michigan. Robert contributed musically to the churches in Harrisville and Port Charlotte, Florida, where he sang and played guitar and trumpet. He was an active Mason in Alcona Lodge 292 where he served as District Deputy Instructor of District 5. He was active in degree work and was Lodge organist for many years. Robert is survived by his wife, Carolyn. His son Robert Bruce and his three granddaughters Harper, Elliot, and Bronte. His son David Paul (Renee) and his three grandsons Noah, Isaac and Benjamin. There will be a memorial service Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 12:00 PM at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Harrisville. Memorials can be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church in Harrisville or to Hospice of Northeast Michigan.
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