C. Merritt Pumphrey, 83

Howard court clerk

December 12, 2007

C. Merritt Pumphrey, a retired Howard County clerk of the Circuit Court and volunteer fire department official, died of cancer Friday at Howard County General Hospital. The Ellicott City resident was 83.

Born in Ferndale in Anne Arundel County, he moved to Howard County at age 13. He worked with his father and brother to establish and operate Dalton Farms, in what is now Columbia. He was a 1941 Howard County High School graduate. As a young man he belonged to the Howard County 4-H Club.

He was a member of the Maryland State Guard during World War II and supervised the labor of German POWs at Dalton Farms. The family sold the farm in the early 1950s and Mr. Pumphrey owned and operated Pumphrey Equipment Co., a business specializing in the sale and service of John Deere farm equipment.

He was a Howard County Fair Association volunteer for more than 50 years and often worked at the entrance gate.

Mr. Pumphrey worked in the Howard County court system for 25 years. He was elected clerk of the Circuit Court for Howard County five times, serving in the post from 1968 to 1990. He received a certificate in court administration from the University of Maryland and was a past president of the Maryland Court Clerks Association.

In addition to his business and courthouse experience, Mr. Pumphrey was a past president and board member of the Howard County District II Volunteer Fire Department, a member of the Howard County General Hospital Community Relations Council, a past president of the Howard County Beekeepers Association and a member of the board of Elkridge Bank from 1972 to 2001.

He enjoyed steeplechase, hunting, fishing, boating and golf. He also had a home in Florida where he grew citrus trees.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at St. John's Episcopal Church, 9120 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, where he served on the vestry and was junior warden.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, the former Dorothy Iglehart; two sons, John "Jack" Merritt Pumphrey of Jefferson and Charles Michael Pumphrey of Okinawa, Japan; a daughter, Sue Carolyn Corbin of Catonsville; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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