Mr. Mervyn F. Willey, 93, of Island Pond, Vermont, passed away peacefully Tuesday morning, February 16, 2021, at the Pines Rehabilitation & Health Center in Lyndon, Vermont.
Mervyn was born on April 19, 1927 in Littleton, New Hampshire, son of Rupert E. and Georgianna Farnham Willey. One of eight children, he enjoyed working on his family’s farm as a boy and fondly recalled days of haying, milking cows, and making butter on Foster Hill. After leaving the farm, Mervyn joined the Navy and was assigned to the USS Benham, a lead ship of her class of destroyers, sailing to Hawaii as an escort for the aircraft USS Enterprise. Following his service, Mervyn attended the University of Vermont and received his degree in education. He taught in Newport and Danville, Vermont and then at Windsor High School for 40 years before retiring.
On November 22, 1950, Mervyn married the love of his life, Phyllis Farnsworth, also a school teacher. The two were married in North Stratford, New Hampshire at Phyllis’s family home, built by her father, Neal Farnsworth, in 1921. They bought a house in Reading, Vermont where they raised their five sons: Daneal “Danny”, Desmond “Desi”, Dennis, Darrel, and Dale. Phyllis was a loving mother and wife; she and Mervyn enjoyed a devoted marriage, celebrating 53 years together before Phyllis’s passing in 2004.
Mervyn had many interests. He was a horseman, keeping ponies for his sons at the farmhouse in Reading, and he continued to keep and even ride horses well into his 80s at the house in North Stratford. Mervyn liked gardening, maple sugaring, playing the guitar, motorcycles, and camping. In retirement, he and Phyllis took many trips with their tow-behind. His grandchildren had great fun playing and spending overnights in the camper when opened up at his home for the summer. They also accompanied Mervyn and Phyllis on some of their excursions, camping close to home, lakeside, or near the coast.
Above all, Mervyn’s greatest passion was his love for his Lord, Jesus Christ. He read his bible, sang hymns, prayed to and praised the Lord, and encouraged others to seek Him. Mervyn’s faith led him to become a member of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship, attend a Billy Graham Crusade in Manchester, New Hampshire, and join thousands of other Christians in a mass prayer vigil for the nation at the National Mall in Washington DC. In his last days, his faith did not waver as he longed to “go home” to meet Jesus and reunite with his love, Phyllis. Mervyn was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis, his son, Dale, and his granddaughter, Angela.
Mervyn is survived by his sons: Danny of Reading, Vermont, Desi and his wife Kelly of Windsor, Vermont, Dennis and his wife Tina of Lebanon, New Hampshire, Darrel and his partner Marilyn, also of Windsor. He too is survived by nine grandchildren: Jacob, Sarah, Emily, Aaron, Danielle, Nicholas, Neal, Bradley, and Luke. Mervyn had 11 great-grandchildren, including a set of twins.
There will be a calling hour from 11-11:30 at the Ross Funeral Home, Saturday, February 20, with a service at 11:30. Social distancing and masks will be required. Burial will take place in the spring at the Fairview Cemetery, North Statford, NH.
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