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Merrill was born Oct. 21, 1915 in Kirkland, Ill., to William and Gladys (Strawn) Culvey.
Merrill was a resident of the Ava community since 1971, moving from Belvidere, Ill. He worked as a machinist with Borg Warner Co. in Rockford, Ill., for 33 years.
On June 18, 1937, Merrill and Estalee Bruce were united in marriage in Oregon, Ill., and to this union five children were born.
Merrill was baptized at South Baptist Church in Belvidere, Ill., in 1926, where he was a member for many years. He enjoyed playing music, hunting, fishing and was the resident gunsmith at Girdner.
Merrill was preceded in death by his parents, one great-grandson, two great-granddaughters, two brothers, Donald and Kenneth Culvey, and one sister, Isabelle Moore.
Merrill is survived by his wife, Estalee Culvey, Ava, Mo.; three sons, William L. Culvey and James Culvey, both of Belvidere, Ill., and Daniel and wife, June Culvey, Marion, Ky.; two daughters and their spouses, Eileen and Neil McCoy, Ava, Mo., and Marilyn and Robert Blake, Frederic, Wisc.; 12 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; seven great-great-grandchildren; two sisters, Marjorie Penwander, Rockton, Ill., and Mickey Billman, Poplar Grove, Ill.; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Funeral services for Merrill were held Monday, Dec. 27, at 10 a.m. in the Clinkingbeard Funeral Home, Ava, with burial in the Girdner Cemetery. Visitation was Monday from 9 a.m. to service time in the funeral home. Officiating was Brother Charles McFarland. Memorials may be made to Girdner Cemetery.
Online condolences may be made to www.clinkingbeardfuneral home.com.