W. R. Tucker Merritt, age 72, of Mansfield Center, Connecticut, was surrounded by his family when he passed away gracefully at Hartford Hospital on December 29, 2019, nearly 10 years following a lung transplant that changed the trajectory of his life.
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Tucker was born in Hartford, the youngest of four children, to Philip J. Merritt and B. Mary (Skeats) Merritt Barnard. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Donna (DiSegna) Merritt, and was a superhero to his children and grandchildren, Lauren Merritt Valentin and her husband Francisco Valentin and their children Audrey and Abigail Valentin; and Robin Merritt Garcia-Amaya and her husband Alejandro Garcia-Amaya. He is also survived by his sister, Susan Merritt Robertson of Santa Monica, California, his sister-in-law, Claire Merritt, of Arlington, Vermont, a cadre of nephews and nieces, and, lest we forget, his beloved “grand-dogs,” Bas and Chia. He was predeceased by two siblings, Polly Merritt O’Leary and Michael P. Merritt.
Tucker grew up in West Hartford and graduated from Kingswood in 1965 (before it was K-O). He was a Vietnam Era soldier who proudly volunteered for four years of service as a medic in the Army. Subsequently, he attended the University of Connecticut on the GI Bill. He managed the microfilm department of Joseph Merritt and Company in Harford for the first part of his career and then, in 1987, became the president and owner of Merritt Imaging in Vernon until he retired in 2008. He was a Life Master Rank bridge player, member of the Hartford Bridge Club, an avid UConn Women’s basketball enthusiast and sang for many years in the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel Choir.
With his lucky star guiding his life’s journey and humor and music reverberating from his soul, Tucker persevered through challenges with joyfulness, eternal optimism and a self-created song or poem for every occasion. He welcomed everyone into his home with compassion and generosity.
A slight adaptation of one of his poems suits him well:
We love you to pieces and just want to convey,
Tomorrow, forever, and then one more day.
As family of you Dad, you really out-do,
We’re honored our lucky star has given us you.
Calling hours will be on Friday January 3, 2020 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Tolland Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Merrow Road, Tolland, CT. The funeral will be held on Saturday, January 4, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel, 46 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT. Burial will follow at St. Mary Cemetery, Coventry, CT. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift donation to the American Lung Association (www.lung.org).