Merritt King, 93, War Hero, 7-Term Alderman and Geneva's Historian Emeritus Led a Wonderful Life
- Deceased's name: Merritt King
- Age: 93
- Date: Jan. 24, 2012
- Hometown: Geneva
- Survived by: His daughters, Alison and Lesley (Danny) Dimmick, both of Geneva
Merritt Austin King, 93, died in his home on the morning of Jan. 24, 2012.
Merritt was born in Milwaukee, WI, on Dec. 2, 1918, the son of Charles and Ruth King. He moved to Geneva in 1928 and was a graduate of Geneva High School, class of 1939.
He was united in marriage to Lynne Pearson on Dec. 6, 1944, in London, England, while serving in the U.S. Army in World War II. Merritt is survived by his daughters, Alison and Lesley (Danny) Dimmick, both of Geneva. He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Lynne, in 1994 and his son Bryan in 1967.
His list of life acheivements and contributions to the community are too many to mention, but here are a few.
City of Geneva
- Present vice chairman and secretary of the Kane County Public Building Commission under several mayors, since 1989, attending last meeting on Dec. 19, 2011.
- Former alderman of Ward 2 for 28 years, elected to seven, four-year terms
- Former Mayor Pro Tem, 12 years
- During seven terms as alderman, he served as chairman of the Streets and Walks Committee, Parking Committee, Intergovernmental Relations Committee
- Former member city of Geneva's Zoning Board of Appeals, four years
- Past president and board member of Geneva Memorial Community Center
- Geneva Memorial Community Center Board of Directors, six years
- Was responsible for suggesting and implementing the installation of Geneva's Historic Third Street gas lamps with support from Third Street Merchants, the Post Office and the Kane County Court House. He was pleased that when the street was renovated, a similar style lamp was used with electric lamps.
- Historian Emeritus, Geneva History Center
- Member of the Board of Directors, Geneva Historical Society, 1976-1992
- Life membership, Geneva Historical Society (now known as Geneva History Center)
- Member Geneva Township Senior Center Advisory Board 2006-08
- Volunteer at the Butterfly House of Peck Farm Park, 2004-2008
- Former member Illinois State Toll Highway Advisory Committee (20 years)
- Citizen of the Year, Geneva Masonic Lodge #139 AF&M, 1995
- Grand Marshall of Geneva Swedish Days Parade 1998
- 32 Degree Mason, Scottish Rite
- Medinah Temple, Shriner
- Member, Fox Valley Shrine Club
- Past commander of American Legion Post #75
- Historian and Life Member, American Legion Post #75
- Geneva Township Republican Precinct Committeeman (1947-2006)
- Achieved rank of Eagle Scout, active in scouting
United States Army
- Army War College Mapping, Washington, D.C.
- Engineer School, Fort Belvoir, VA
- 4 1/2 years WWII Engineer Mapping Intelligence, Office of Chief Engineer under Major General Ruybold
- Decorated Veteran—Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, French Croix de Guerre, four Battle Stars
- D-Day +3 Survivor, Omaha Beach
- Flew nine missions Aerial Photo Reconnaissance over Germany and France
- Served 3 1/2 years overseas in Germany, France, England, Belgium, Africa, Egypt
- Received three citations from the Corps of Engineers
- Charter member of Topographic Engineer
- Life member, 7th Photo Recon Group
- In recognition of his valor while a member of the U.S. Army, Merritt was awarded the French Legion of Honor, Chevalier, by the French Government on Oct. 13, 2008. The award is in recognition of his valor while a member of the United States Army in the liberation of France during World War II. The French Legion of Honor Medal is the highest honor that France can bestow upon those who have accomplished remarkable deeds for France.
Merritt enjoyed many sports, excelling in track, football and basketball at Geneva High School earning him the lifetime nickname of "Speed." As an adult, he loved sailing, shooting skeet, and playing golf. He was thrilled to experience four holes-in-one over his lifetime.
He owned and operated King Heating and Air Conditioning in Geneva for many years.
Merritt was also honored to have flown on the second flight to Washington, D.C., to view the WWII Memorial with Honor Flight Chicago on June 25, 2008.
Honor Flight Chicago was founded to recognize our Veterans—most specifically our WWII Veterans—with a day of honor, remembrance and celebration from a proud and grateful nation.
In lieu of flowers, in Merritt's memory, please do something kind for an elderly friend or stranger. He loved Geneva. Memorials to benefit Geneva or Honor Flight Chicago are also appreciated.
- Honor Flight Chicago, 938 W Montana St., Chicago, IL 60614
- Geneva Beautification Committee c/o City of Geneva, 22 S. First St. Geneva, IL 60134
- The Geneva Giving Program c/o City of Geneva, 22 S. First St. Geneva, IL 60134
Visitation will be 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at Malone Funeral Home, 324 East State St., Geneva. A service under the auspices of Geneva Masonic Lodge #139 will be performed to honor Mr. King.
Arrangements handled by Malone Funeral Home, Geneva. Information, (630) 232-8233.
This notice is courtesy of Malone Funeral Home.