Mr. James Merrill, age 79, of Hartford, Alabama passed away Saturday, December 7, 2019.
Visitation will be Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 11 AM at St. Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church in Geneva, Alabama.
Funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 1 PM at St. Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church in Geneva, Alabama.
The Life of Reverend James Arthur Merrill
Rev James Arthur Merrill departed this life peacefully on the evening of December 7, 2019 at his home in Hartford, Alabama. James was the son of the Late James Robert & Lottie Merrill, and was born on September 21st, 1940 in Dothan, Alabama. He was preceded by his beloved sister, Susie Taylor, who helped raise him after the passing of their mother at a young age. James was known by many and known by other names: Jimmy, Slim, Skinny Jimmy and the produce man, and would tell you that he was the best domino player there is.
James was born and raised in Dothan, Alabama and graduated from Carver High School. He moved away and lived in many major cities in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and Pennsylvania. He got into the entertainment business and joined a musical group. He sang and performed on many stages. He shared the stages with singers like, Tyrone Davis, Willie Clayton and Wilson Pickett. He also made one 45 record single, `Falling in Love with You’. His stage name was Little Jimmy Parker.
In 1980, James came back to the Dothan area. He met his lovely wife, Mary Ann Merrill in 1983, and they married on March 23, 1984. He obtained a business license in construction, The Merrill Construction Co., where he mostly did roofing, sheet rock and remodeling. In the early 1990’s, he was called to preach and was ordained by his longtime friend and pastor, Pastor James C Harvey Sr. With spiritual growth, he became very active in ministry. James enjoyed teaching Sunday School at the churches where he was a member, St Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church and at Prosperity Missionary Baptist Church. While a member at Prosperity, he was a missionary for the Geneva District. He has ministered on an AM radio broadcast in Ozark, Alabama and was sponsored by Bishop McComb of Daleville Christian Fellowship. He had the Nursing Home Ministry at Hartford Healthcare and Jailhouse Ministry at Geneva County Jail. He joined Daily Devotional phone ministries, “Living Well” with Brother Dennis Ellis and “New Hope” with Pastor Darryl Alexander. With his life experiences and lessons, He was a great encouraging mentor for young men in the community. While playing dominos, he would witness to them and speak with them about their troubles.
James is survived by his loving and devoted wife: Mary Ann Merrill of Hartford, AL; two daughter's: Lavita McCray of Omaha, NB, Connie Brown of Atlanta, GA; one grandson: Malakhi Brown of Atlanta, GA; His Loving Sister, Lucy Powell of Chicago, IL; nephew, raised like his brother: Arthur Willis of South Orange, NJ; a special niece, like a daughter: Susan Wright; three brother-in-law's: Johnny (Ola) Brown of Dothan, AL, Ray Charles Brown and Calvin (Diane) Grooms of Hartford, AL; four sister-in-law's: Paula (Henry) Baxter, Joanna (Val) Watson, and Margaret Napper all of Dothan, AL and Trina Brown of Hartford, AL; a host of loving nieces, nephews, cousins and aunts; endearing friends and domino partners; special young neighbors: Jyquan (Dae Dae) White and Omari (Mari) Holmes. He had his special relationships with his nieces and nephews, along with nicknames. Could talk to him about anything. The family, friends and community will miss him dearly.
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