Tom Cox has alerted us that Spencer Merz passed away on December 19, 2020. Spencer was a life member of NEMA and will be missed by all who knew him. Because of the pandemic restrictions, no services have yet been scheduled, but we'll post more news when available. Spencer's widow, Mary Nickerson, can be contacted at email@example.com. Spencer's obituary follows, but please feel free to post your own remembrances here.
SAMUEL SPENCER MERZ
Never happier than when at the helm of a sailboat, Spencer lived a
life of adventures and generosities. Born in Hartford CT in 1931, he
died peacefully on December 19, 2020. In his own
long-ago-self-written obituary he said that he "died reluctantly on MM
DD YR of general fatigue" which is not far from the truth.
He grew up in Meriden and Guilford CT, graduated from The Choate
School in 1949, and served in the U.S. Navy in the Mediterranean.
Following his graduation from Rochester Institute of Technology, he
and his first wife, Eleanor (Peck) and their family moved to the
Boston area, where he was employed by Raytheon Co. until he left to
co-start a new company, Questek, designing and building excimer
lasers. He then worked as a consultant, frequently in Germany and
Japan, until his retirement. He lived in Brookline.
He came to sailing as an adult and embraced it wholeheartedly. Racing
catamarans delighted him. Any proposed sailing venture between
Newfoundland and the Caribbean excited him. He was a lifetime member
of the New England Multihull Association and for years wrote and
edited their newsletter. He built a dinghy, a catamaran and a
trimaran, the latter still now racing off the coast of France.
He loved inventing (two patents) and tinkering, and enjoyed
troubleshooting for a variety of organizations, neighbors and friends.
He coached Little League and there were always young engineers to be
mentored. He served on the board of the Museum of Transportation in
Brookline, and served as co-chair of the Mission and Outreach
Committee at the Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill. He
listened. He laughed freely. He was never without a flashlight, a
pocket knife, and a calculator.
He leaves three children: Robert Harold Merz of Pacific Palisades CA;
Lauren Meta Merz of Newton; and Jonathan Spencer Merz of Carlisle,
along with nine grandchildren: Benjamin Spencer Liyanage; Alexa Merz
Roth; Christine Caroline Merz; Alissa Bridwell Merz; Jennifer Naomi
Morris; Daniel Jacob Morris; Charles Theodore Morris and Jason
Bradford Merz. There are, in addition, three great-grandchildren.
He also leaves his second wife, Mary (Butler) Nickerson and her
children: Jeffrey Vernon Nickerson of Weehawken NJ; Catherine Ross
Nickerson of Atlanta GA; John Butler Nickerson of Phoenix AZ; and
Nathaniel Westgate Nickerson of New Haven CT, and six grandchildren,
to all of whom he was a source of much amusement, deadpan advice, many
small adventures, and love.
Racing and Cruising