Merit Wallace Smith, age 96, of Bryan, Ohio, died at 6:15 P.M. on Thursday, July 23, 2015, at Genesis HealthCare, Bryan Facility, where was a resident. Mr. Smith was a 1937 graduate of Gorham Fayette High School and a veteran of the Unites States Army, who served in World War II with the 14th Armored Infantry Battalion, 1st Armored Division in the European Theatre. He received the Good Conduct Medal, EAME Theatre Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars and the World War II Victory Medal. He was a member of the Gorham Fayette Fire Department from 1942-1963, where he served as Fire Chief for twenty years, and was instrumental in starting the Fayette Emergency Medical Service. Merit became Bryan Fire Chief in 1964 and served in that capacity until 1979. He was a certified educator of Red Cross First Aid, instructed fire training classes in three states and propane fire training classes in four states well into his retirement from the Bryan City Fire Department. Active in his community, he was a member of the American Legion for more than fifty years, was a past state director and regional vice president of the International Rescue and First Aid Association and a past president of the Northwest Ohio Firemen’s Association. He and his wife, Dorthea, were partners in the Smith Welding and Water Ball Company and both served as Grand Marshals of the 2007 Bryan Jubilee Parade. His family will remember him as the best husband, dad, grandpa and friend they could have asked for.
Merit Wallace Smith was born on January 26, 1919, in Gorham Township of Fulton County, Ohio, the son of Dr. Emery H. and Carmie E. (Snow) Smith. He married Dorothea M. Kline on November 15, 1939, in Newport, Kentucky, and she preceded him in death on February 10, 2013.
Survivors include one son, Kent M. (Sharon) Smith, of Fostoria, Ohio; two daughters, Vicki L. DeLong, and Pamela J. (Leon) Franks, both Bryan; his grandchildren, Carolyn (Ron) Fritz, Kent Smith, Jr., Shelly (Ed) Cornell, Troy Myers, Kyle (Jamie) DeLong, Tina (John) Hubbell, Joel (Amy) DeLong, Tim Franks, and Julie (Randy) Cape; fifteen great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandson. He was also preceded in death by a brother, Staten Smith, a sister, Ruth Aldrich-Kerby, a son-in-law, Robert DeLong, and a grandson, James Belcher.
A memorial service celebrating the lives of Merit and Dorothea Smith will be held on Friday, July 31, 2015, at 11:00 A.M. in the Krill Funeral Home, Bryan. Interment will be in Pleasant View Union Cemetery, in Fayette with grave side military rites conducted by Bryan American Legion Post #284 and the United States Army Honor Guard. The family will receive visitors for one hour prior to the service, beginning at 10:00 A.M. on Friday.
Memorials in the name of Merit Wallace Smith may be given to the Bryan Fire Department or the Alzheimer’s Association.