Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Joseph Leon Merritt

Mr. Leon Merritt, age 100, passed away surrounded by his loving family Monday, January 13, 2020, at his residence in Louisville, Mississippi. Visitation will be Thursday, January 16, from 5:00 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Nowell Massey Funeral Home in Louisville. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Friday, January 17, at Poplar Flat Baptist Church with Bro. Dan Robertson officiating. Graveside services and interment will immediately follow the service in Poplar Flat Cemetery with Bro. Doug Wise officiating.

Leon was born May 27, 1919, to B. F. and Lula McCann Merritt in Sturgis, Mississippi. He was a member of Poplar Flat Baptist Church where he faithfully served as the music director for many years; he was also a deacon; and a Sunday school teacher. Over the years, he also led the music for many revivals. Leon was also active in the Brotherhood and Visitation Ministry of Poplar Flat Church and in the Winston County Baptist Association. He answered the call of his country by serving from 1942 to 1946 in the United States Marine Corp. Leon spent two and one-half years in the South Pacific Theater of World War II where he participated in actions against the enemy in two major battles: Battle of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands in 1943 and Battle of Saipan fought on the island of Saipan and Battle of Tinian fought on the island of Tinian both in the Mariana Islands in 1944. He returned from his overseas duty and married the love of his life, Gladys Taylor of Louisville. Leon was the founder and owner of Merritt Plumbing and Water Well Company which he operated for more than 30 years.

Leon is survived by his son Joe Merritt and wife Diana of Dallas, Texas; his daughter Carol Higginbotham and husband Robert of Louisville; and his sister Bertha Vickers of the Morgantown Community. One of his greatest joys was being “Granddaddy” to his six grandchildren: Megan (Bob) Thomas, Emma (Wesley) Teague, Josh McNeill, J. D. (Katelin) McNeill, Julee (Bennie Ray) Watkins, and Kiel (Lara) Higginbotham. He also enjoyed being “Granddaddy” to his six great-grandchildren: Maci McNeill, Maggie McNeill, Tara Thomas, Joseph Thomas, Jett Higginbotham, and Lake Higginbotham; he is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and friends. He is preceded in death by his wife Gladys Taylor Merritt; his parents; four brothers: Thomas Merritt, Kline Merritt, Lamar Whatley, and Howard Harrod; and three sisters Lurlene Josey, Lena Heflin, and Mabel Harrod.

Serving as active pallbearers are Josh McNeill, J. D. McNeill, Kiel Higginbotham, Gerald Whatley, Robbie McMillan, and Norman White; while Bobby Stubbs will serve as an honorary pallbearer.

Services are under the direction of Nowell Massey Funeral Home, 724 North Columbus Avenue, Louisville, MS. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family by signing the guest register at www.nowellmasseyfuneralhome.com.