William Danforth Merkle - 1929-2020.
William D. Merkle, 18 May 2020. Son of the late Frank P. And Leona V. Merkle of Evanston, IL. Dartmouth College, Class of ‘51, New Trier High School, 1947. Served in the US Army 1951-1955, stationed in Chateauroux, France, earning an overseas discharge and remaining employed as a civilian in Verdun. Bill met Gertrude M. (Trudy) Hunziker, a journalist from Geneva, Switzerland in Paris, marrying there in 1954. Their three sons were born at the base hospital and the family relocated to the US in 1958. Bill then completed his MBA at the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth and embarked on his successful career in Human Resources and organizational development. In 1963, the family moved permanently to Old Greenwich, CT, where they added three lovely daughters.
In 1976, he founded William Merkle Associates, consulting in organization development and providing skills training for corporations across the US and Canada. After retiring in 1991, Bill and Trudy served in the International Executive Service Corps, assisting business leaders in the post-Soviet era as developing countries sought to convert their economies to competitive, open markets and participate in the global economy. Bill advised on improving business processes, establishing consistent management practices and developing organization culture. They spent from one to six months in Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Tunisia, and Egypt, to name a few. Bill was a wonderful storyteller and these assignments provided amazing fodder for learning, laughs and wonder about how different and similar we all are in the world.
Bill worked hard and loved sailing, skiing, and the outdoors and passed this legacy to his family. Pebabileman, a 26’ sloop, was named for the six children. In 1982, Bill took delivery of a Whitby 42 ketch, Merritime. For two decades Bill thrilled his extended family and friends, sailing the ketch up and down the East coast, to Bermuda and the Bahamas, welcoming them on different legs of the voyages. He was an accomplished ukulele player, taught himself the banjo and also enjoyed playing piano. He instilled in his family the importance of working together and playing together, and family reunions with cousins focused on sailing with plenty of laughter.
Bill was preceded in death by both of his siblings, F.P. Merkle Jr. (Pete) (1927-1996) and Barbara Patteson Hartman (Bobby) (1925-2005). He is survived by Trudy, his loving wife of 65 years, and their six children: Peter F. Merkle, MD of Deerfield, FL, Patrick G. Merkle, Esq.of Washington DC, William L. Merkle, P.E. of Elizabeth, IL, Lee Merkle-Raymond of Palo Alto, CA, Mary Merkle-Scotland of Madison, CT, and Annie Merkle-Ward of Guilford, CT. Bill and Trudy also have sixteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
In light of current travel restrictions, there will be a family celebration of Bill’s life later in 2020.
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