Gloria Elaine (Danforth) Merrill, 79, of Thornton, passed away April 27, 2020 in Belknap County Nursing Home, Laconia, NH. Born in Thornton, April 25, 1941, she was the youngest child of George and Lillian Danforth. She was predeceased by her sister Marion, brother Floyd and sister Fern.
Growing up, Gloria joined the West Thornton Grange where she met the love of her life, Bernard Merrill, and later they were married on November 15, 1959. Last year, they celebrated 60 years together.
Gloria and Bernard made their home in Thornton where they raised their children. Their first born, Bruce, died shortly after birth. Soon after, they had their daughter, Julie Ann and three years later, twin boys, Dean and Dale.
Over the years, Gloria had various jobs, including babysitting family and local children while she raised her own, chambermaiding at Snowy Owl Inn in Waterville Valley, NH and manufacturing work at White Mt. Industries in Campton, NH. She also provided home care and assisted with running errands for a local woman for many years.
Together, Gloria and Bernard served faithfully over 50 years in the Grange. Gloria enjoyed the outgoing opportunities the Grange offered, such as canning vegetables and making baked goods for the exhibits at Plymouth State Fair. She also enjoyed working the annual Sugar On Snow Party, and couldn’t wait to hit the dance floor for the first square dance. Hosting the annual Christmas cookie swap for shut-ins at the end of each year was also a favorite event.
Gloria also attended the Campton Baptist Church for many years. It was there that she accepted Jesus as her Savior with her favorite pastor, the late Reverend Henry Harding.
When her children were grown, Gloria bought a camper and traveled to many bluegrass festivals with her husband and other bluegrass friends. She was her husband, Bernard’s, biggest fan, as he played in the Blake Mountain Country Band for many years. After Bernard’s retirement, he was awarded a trip to Branson, Missouri, where they enjoyed hearing even more country music and making more friends.
Gloria was very outgoing, loved people and loved to visit. She also had a special love for her grandchildren. Seldom could the cookie jar be found empty, and she was known to hand out cookies freely when they came to visit. She enjoyed bouncing her grandchildren on her knee, singing and bringing laughter to their faces. As they grew, she loved to attend their school performances and sporting events, and she especially loved to have them come for sleep overs so she could spoil them without her children around.
Gloria leaves behind her husband, Bernard Merrill, now living at Belknap County Nursing Home, Laconia,NH, daughter, Julie Ann and her husband, Glen Smith, grandchildren, Faith, Benjamin and Moriah, all of New Hampton, NH, son Dean Merrill, son Dale Merrill and wife Nicole, grandsons, Smith and Chad, all of Thornton, NH, a brother-in-law Richard Merrill and wife Carol, also of Thornton, sister-in-law Marie Merrill of Campton, sister-in-law Ginny Danforth of Ashland, as well as several special nieces, a nephew, and many friends.
The family thanks all the people who have assisted in caring for Gloria during her life, especially during these last years battling Alzheimers. A special “Thank You” to all the wonderful staff at Belknap County Nursing Home (BCNH) for their fabulous care, love and support.
Burial is planned at the convenience of the family at Pine Grove Cemetery in Thornton, NH. At a later date, the family will have a Remembrance of Life with extended family and friends. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 166 S. River Road, Bedford, NH 03110 or ://act.alz.org/sit/Donations2 OR to the BCNH Resident Council Fund, Memo:Music Fund/Gloria Merrill, 30 Country Lane, Laconia, NH 03246.