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  • 1 Jan 2021 1:41 PM
    Message # 9566464
    Andrew Houlding (Administrator)

    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 marynckrsn@gmail.com.  Spencer's obituary follows, but please feel free to post your own remembrances here.   


    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.

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