Merrill G. Oaks, 91, passed away peacefully with family at his side at 3:50 a.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009, at the Franklin United Methodist Community.
He was a lifelong resident of Franklin.
He was born Feb. 18, 1918, in Nineveh, Ind., Johnson County, to George W. and Mary (Batton) Oaks.
He married Mildred F. Garrigus, Edinburgh, Ind., Dec. 29, 1943. They renewed their vows on their 50th anniversary in 1993. They had been married 65 years when Mildred passed away Jan. 23, 2009.
He was a 1937 graduate of Nineveh High School. Merrill worked with his father on the family farm and was employed by Omar Bakery as a salesman from 1939-41.
He was drafted into the Army June 9, 941, and attended Officers Training School at Fort Benning, Ga., graduating July 1942, as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the 102nd Infantry Division in Texas and was promoted to captain in January 1944, when he took command of Company M, Heavy Weapons Company. He was shipped overseas September 1944, serving in France and Germany. He became Acting Battalion Commander in September 1945, and achieved the rank of major before being released from active duty in April 1946, and remained in the Army Reserves until 1952.
Merrill received the Bronze Star Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Two Battle Stars and World War II Victory Medal and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
Merrill began working for Prudential Insurance Company in July 1947, retiring in July 1978.
He was a member of the Tabernacle Christian Church, Franklin, where he served as an Elder for many years and served on the Church Board. He was a life member of the 102 Infantry Association, a 61-year member of the Franklin Masonic Lodge No. 107, F.&A.M., Indiana Valley of Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (32-degree Mason), Murat Shrine of Indianapolis and the Franklin Chapter No. 439, Order of Eastern Star. He was also a member of the American Legion Post No. 205, was a charter member of the Franklin Elks No. 1818, where he served as a former chairman of the house committee. Merrill helped organize the Johnson County Shrine Club and served on the house committee.
Merrill was active with the Boys Scouts of America and with the Franklin DeMolay for many years. He served on the Johnson County Election Board for many years as the Democratic representative.
Merrill and his wife Mildred delivered Meals on Wheels and delivered tapes to the shut-ins at the church. He enjoyed playing his organ, piano and accordion. After retirement, he enjoyed canning and refinishing furniture.
Merrill is survived by daughter Suzie, Richmond, son Stephen (Brenda), Franklin, grandchildren Heath, Rachel and Michael, Franklin, and Kyle, Wooster, Ohio, step-granddaughter Stephanie (Darren) Deeter, Franklin, great-granddaughter Lillian Marie Oaks, step-great-grandsons Austin and Bronson Deeter, sister-in-law Alta Garrigus, Charlotte, N.C., cousins, including special cousins Dean Duval, Wilma Oaks and Ruby Gosch, and 22 nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, brothers-in-law Ralph, Gene, Earl, Arthur and Ernest, and sisters-in-law Lucille, Margaret, Anna May and Lillian.
Rev. Bill Horner will conduct a service Friday, March 13, 2009, at 10:30 a.m., at Flinn and Maguire Funeral Home, 2898 N. Morton St. (United States 31 North), Franklin. Visitation will be Thursday, March 12, from 4-8 p.m., at the funeral home, where Masonic service will be conducted by the Franklin Masonic Lodge No. 107, F.&A.M., at 8 p.m. Burial will be at Greenlawn Cemetery, Franklin, where military rites will be conducted.
Memorial contributions may be made to Tabernacle Christian Church, 198 N. Water St., Franklin, Ind., 46131, Shriner Children's Hospital and the Alzheimer's Association, Greater Indiana Chapter, 50 E. 91st St., Suite 100, Indianapolis, Ind., 46240.
Online condolences may be received at www.flinnmaguire.com.