Eunice Benedict Merriss

MerrissEunice Benedict Merriss, 102, on June 26, 2015, at Foxdale Village in State College, Pa., her home for 23 years. Eunice was born on February 4, 1913, in Waterbury, Conn., the oldest child of Edith Mason and Eric Wilson Benedict. She graduated from Bunker Hill School and Classical High School in Waterbury and received a library science degree from Simmons College. For six years she worked as a junior high school librarian in Meriden, Conn., before transferring to the Greenwich Public Library in Greenwich, Conn.

While working in Greenwich, she met and in 1952, married William Ellery Merriss, a master teacher of English and Latin at Greenwich Country Day School. William was a widower, and Eunice became a mother to William’s young children, Richard and Dilys, while she continued working. A visit they made soon after their wedding to Stamford (Conn.) Meeting at William’s suggestion convinced them to become members.

Once the children were grown and out of college, she and William visited England, Scotland, France, Portugal, and Costa Rica, often for month-long stays. When they retired, they lived in Cape Cod for ten years, after which they decided to move to Quaker continuing care retirement community Foxdale Village. Although William became ill and passed away in 1990, before they were able to make the move, in 1992 Eunice moved into Foxdale Village and transferred her membership from Stamford Meeting to State College (Pa.) Meeting. She attended meeting regularly for a while, but the focus of her volunteer service was at Foxdale, as a member of the Rhodes Readers group and as correspondence secretary for the Residents’ Association. Eunice was always pleasant, but never drew attention to herself. Her biographer, Myles Bane, wrote, “It was once said, ‘To be truly great, one must stand with people, not above them.’ Eunice fits this description.” Eunice was predeceased by her husband, William Ellery Merriss; and her brother, Douglas Benedict. She is survived by two children, Richard Merriss and Dilys Staaterman; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maximum of 400 words or 2000 characters.

Comments on may be used in the Forum of the print magazine and may be edited for length and clarity.