Date of Death: May 22, 2020

Service Details

A memorial service will be held at a later date with interment of cremains in Schoolcraft Cemetery.

Obituary Notice

E. Merritt Brown, 73, of Schoolcraft, portaged his last obstacle in life on May 22, 2020 with his wife Mary at his side.

Born in Petoskey, Michigan on June 15, 1946, Merritt grew up near Indian River with his loving mother Joy, grandparents Clark and Mary Most, and cousin Mary Carol.

Merritt graduated from Indian River High School and North Central Michigan College with an associates degree before transferring to Western Michigan University part time.

Starting at age 19, Merritt owned his own tractor trailer semi and drove for Mayflower moving furniture across the U.S. He commercial fished off the shores of Alaska, worked in construction, and managed Lee’s Sports in Kalamazoo.

Merritt’s love of nature and the outdoors began at an early age, increased through Boy Scouts and travels west with his mother, Uncle Clark and Aunt Nancy, and continued his entire life.

After working multiple jobs, Merritt’s love of nature took him to Michigan Technological University where he graduated with a degree in Forest Management and Land Surveying. Upon graduation he was hired by Gove Associates as a project surveyor then transitioned to the City of Three Rivers where he dedicatedly served as Engineering Assistant, Forester and City planner for over 30 years.

Even with his heavy workload, Merritt found time for home remodeling and kayaking with friends, especially his annual men’s whitewater trips. He enjoyed gardening, canning, woodworking, reading, splitting wood and spending time at Wildwood, his beloved childhood home.

Merritt loved words and never missed an opportunity to throw out a timely pun or Latin name. He had a special talent of connecting people with others and always had time to share his vast knowledge or help a friend. We will always miss his beautiful singing and the “timber” of his voice. A mighty Quercus alba (white oak) has fallen.

Merritt is survived by his wife of 43 years, Mary (McNally); his cousins, Mary Carol McKinney (John), Willard Howe, Clark Most III (Lynne), and Cynthia Dittmer (Greg); and several extended family and friends.

Additional Information

Memorial donations may be made to the American Lung Association, the Michigan Nature Association or the Arbor Day Foundation. Envelopes are also available and may be sent to Hohner Funeral Home, P.O. Box 1018, Three Rivers, MI 49093 in care of arrangements.  Please see direct links below to also donate.


American Lung Association


Michigan Nature Association


Arbor Day Foundation

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  1. I”m late to the comments here, but not in my great respect for Merritt who was such a strong, knowledgeable force for good in our community. The parks, the streets, the street trees and the preserved land all bear touches of Merritt’s lasting impact. It seems that everything Merritt knew well, he did well. I’d say rest in peace, but I don’t believe that would fit his ideal of what comes next. A place to love, work, paddle and plant trees on the fair hills of the Lord would seem more to his liking. Pax vobiscum, my friend.

  2. Oh Mary we just found out about Merritt, we are so sorry for your loss! He was such an inspiration to so many, and we loved his gentle ways. It was very sad to hear the news, and he will be missed at the gatherings with the family. We will never forget him in our hearts. R.I.P dear Merritt!

  3. Dear Mary,
    I am so sad that I am just now discovering that your Merritt passed away. I was just talking on the phone with my mother and telling her that I noticed another man cutting your grass and that I felt like I should walk over to your house and find out how Merritt is doing. I’m so sorry that I did not think of getting online sooner. I was praying I would not find his name.

    I remember so distinctly me telling you and Merritt about Lani passing last year after. You so graciously cooked me such delicious food and brought it over to me and I was so grateful. When I say that I know what you’re going through, you know that it is true. I still miss my Lani so very much even after more than a year as I know you miss Merritt. Although we did not socialize, we always considered you wonderful neighbors and we knew that if we needed something you would be there to offer assistance as Merritt did throughout the years.

    I hope you know that I am here if you need me. I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am and that I’m just a phone call away. You can reach me on my cell phone at 269-364-8117 anytime. My thoughts and prayers are with you. God bless you

  4. Hi Mary, I was so sad to see Merritt’s obit in the Resorter. May God give you His comfort and peace and the love of friends and family surround you. Dave and I appreciated your friendship so much and you gave us permission to spread part of Dave’s ashes around a special tree that he picked out on your property in Indian River. My girls and I went out to that Memorial tree June 3rd and we all said lets call Merritt and Mary and tell them we are out here and thank them again, but we didn’t get an answer-now we know why. Love you , Mim (Miriam) Wellman

  5. Merritt was a great guy that I really enjoyed over the many years we worked together on City of Three Rivers projects. He was so smart and interesting, had a great big heart, and I greatly appreciated his decisiveness, integrity, and vision for the community. Paddle on, Merritt. You will be missed.

  6. What a lovely tribute, I concur that it absolutely captured Merritt perfectly. He will be sorely missed and a true gentleman.

  7. I was shocked and saddened to read about Merritt. I knew him through the City Commission and as a citizen living in Three Rivers. He was a kind, gentle man and always answered all my questions, which I had many. I always learned something new from him. Merritt will be missed by any person that knew him. I enjoyed Merritt’s Face Book posts. I send my prayers to his family and all his friends.

    Judy Gilchrist Mohney, former City Commissioner of Three Rivers, currently living in Stayton, OR.

  8. So very sorry to hear. My thoughts and prayers are with you Mary. Merritt was a delight and like a walking lumberjack encyclopedia. I was always trying to catch him using a word inappropriately, it was my goal when we worked together at the City of TR. It happened once in 7 years! Merritt taught me how to kayak behind City Hall before a parks and rec meeting, and of course I tipped over underneath the bridge. He loaned me one of his flannels to wear to the meeting, I think he was 6’7″ so no problem with it fitting. Anywhere my husband and I traveled, especially up north in Michigan, Merritt could always provide a restaurant to visit or a beach to go rocking. Loved that deep authoritative voice and his creative nature. He will be missed.

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