Joseph C. Merrick, 79, Mack Trucks executive

October 22, 2004

Joseph C. Merrick, a retired Mack Trucks vice president and Project Liberty Ship volunteer officer who served in the Canadian navy, the U.S. merchant marine and the Army six decades ago, died from stroke complications Monday at his Glen Burnie home. He was 79.

Mr. Merrick was born in Glendale, Calif., and raised there and in Victoria, British Columbia. He served in the Canadian navy from 1943 to 1944, when he left to join the merchant marine.

"He left the Canadian navy after seeing the food that the U.S. merchant mariners were getting. After leaving the merchant marine, he was an Army military policeman from 1946 until being discharged in 1948," said his daughter, Linda M. Robertson of York, Pa.

Mr. Merrick began his career with Mack Trucks in Milwaukee in 1948, and subsequently held positions with the company in several cities before coming to Baltimore in 1967. He was vice president and general manager of the company's Linthicum office at his 1992 retirement.

"He was looking for something to do after he retired and came aboard the SS John Brown and offered his services. He had been very active until his health began to fail," said Hercules Esibill, secretary of Project Liberty Ship, which owns and operates the World War II vessel.

During the mid-1990s, Mr. Merrick served as the organization's treasurer and was the vessel's chief steward.

Mr. Merrick was a volunteer and former board member of the Pascal Senior Center. In 1999, he established and enjoyed volunteering with a reading and math tutoring program that was called the "Mr. Joe Program" by children at Point Pleasant Elementary School in Glen Burnie.

Services will be held at 4 p.m. today at the Singleton Funeral Home, 1 Second Ave. S.W., Glen Burnie.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Merrick is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Florence Szymarek, and two grandchildren. His son, Alan J. Merrick, died this year.

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