Dale Gordon Merkle, Sr.
Dr. Dale Gordon Merkle Sr., 89, passed away April 14th at his home in Atlanta, Georgia surrounded by his loving family. Dale was born November 12, 1933, in Bay City, Michigan to the late Emil H. and Jane Marie (Brown) Merkle. He was a 1951 graduate of T.L. Handy High School and received his BS, MAT, and PhD from Michigan State University.
Dale served in the U.S. Army in Germany as part of the post-World War II reconstruction efforts. Upon returning to the United States, he dedicated his life to education. He taught high school science in Caro and Essexville and science education at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. Even after retirement, his dedication to education continued as he served on the Bay City Public Schools Board of Education and volunteered many hours supporting science education in Bay City and Atlanta area public school classrooms.
Beyond the classroom, Dale was a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. He served as an active member and leader of PFLAG, including several years as Gulf Regional Director, and once served as Grand Marshall of the Atlanta Gay Pride parade. He was a national board member of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. Dale loved baking, and he loved growing and showing roses and sharing their blooms with family, friends, neighbors, and his church congregations. Most recently, Dale was a member of the Central Congregational United Church of Christ in Atlanta and part of their social justice initiatives.
Dale is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Mary Lynn Raymond Merkle; his children, D. Gordon Merkle Jr. (Jimmy Reed), Chris Merkle, and Sarah Merkle (Brian Murphey); and his grandchildren, Sam and Zach Murphey. He is also survived by his brother Bill (Margaret) Merkle, sister Carole Schmidt, his siblings-in-law, Anna Merkle, Jane Raymond, Randy (Patti) Raymond, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. Dale was preceded in death by his siblings and siblings-in-law, Emil Merkle, Lorna (Reese) Woodard, Tom Merkle, Jim (Ruth) Merkle, Richard Schmidt, Allan Raymond, and Carol (Mike) Dwan.
Dale will be fondly remembered for his kindness, wisdom, and abundant love. A celebration of life service will be held May 7th at 3pm at the Central Congregational United Church of Christ in Atlanta, and a celebration of life picnic will be held this summer at Bay City State Park where he and Mary Lynn met 65 years ago. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Georgia Equality or to the Central Congregational UCC Memorial Fund.
Mary Lynn so sorry to hear about Dale’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.