Cover photo for (Ret.) Brig. Gen. William Harvey Merritt's Obituary
(Ret.) Brig. Gen. William Harvey Merritt Profile Photo
1933 Harvey 2024

(Ret.) Brig. Gen. William Harvey Merritt

November 5, 1933 — February 12, 2024

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Retired Colonel William Harvey Merritt Sr., 90, moved to his heavenly home Feb. 12, 2024, in Jackson, Miss. 

      Harvey was born on Nov. 5, 1933, in Magee, Miss. to parents William Thomas Merritt and Doris Evelyn Brooke Merritt. He had a heart for service and is fondly referenced as a distinguished military service member serving on active duty in the U.S. Air Force and as a traditional guardsman in the Mississippi Army National Guard with a military career that spanned nearly 36 years. 

      Harvey served his country with honor and distinction as an active-duty Airmen in the U.S. Air Force from March 1951 until March 1955, achieving the rank of Airman First Class. He continued his military service by joining the Mississippi Army National Guard in November 1955, achieving the rank of Sergeant First Class before attending Officer Candidate School at Camp Shelby, Miss.

      After returning home from the Air Force, Harvey worked for his father in the soil testing lab for the City of Jackson. In December 1958, while he was still working for the City of Jackson, Harvey began his career as a fireman with the Jackson Fire Department. His first assignment was at Fire Station #14, known to most as “the Old Central Fire Station,” achieving the rank of District Chief before accepting a transfer to Allen C. Thompson Airport and Hawkins Field Fire Station and Crash Station. He served there until his civil service retirement in June 1980.

      Harvey was a member of the Inaugural Class of the Mississippi Army National Guard Military Academy’s Officer Candidate School, graduating on Aug. 22, 1959, and commissioning as a 2nd Lieutenant in December. Merritt retired at the rank of Colonel and received the honorary Mississippi state promotion to the rank of Brigadier General at his retirement May 8, 1988. 

      Harvey served in various units and positions during his prestigious military career including the 815th Food Service Squadron, Forbes Air Force Base Topeka, Kansas; 86th Fighter-Bomber Wing, Germany; the Army Reserve National Guard Personnel Center, Pentagon, Washington D.C.; and many units within Jackson, Mississippi including the 31st RECON Company; 31st Aviation Company; 114th Military Police Company; 134th Surgical Hospital (Mobile Army); Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 213th Medical Brigade; and Headquarters, State Area Command (STARC) Mississippi. 

      During Harvey’s military service, he completed a variety of military education courses including the Mississippi Military Academy’s Officer Candidate School, Infantry Officer Orientation Course, Military Police Officer Course, National Security Management Course, Medical Officer Advanced Course, Theater Medical Operations Course, U.S. Army Academy of Health Sciences Command and Staff Course, and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer Course. 

      Col. Merritt’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army of Occupation Medal – Germany, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with a Gold Hourglass, Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, Mississippi Magnolia Cross, Mississippi Magnolia Medal, Mississippi War Medal, Mississippi Emergency Service Medal with 1 Silver and 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Mississippi Service School Medal with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Mississippi Longevity Medal with 1 Silver and 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters. 

      Harvey was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and a Charter Lifetime Member of the 31st Infantry “Dixie” Division.  He was an active Master Mason, York and Scottish Rite, and a member of Wahabi Shrine Temple. He was also a 50-year Lifetime member of the Mystic Shrine and a devout member of Epworth United Methodist Church. 

      Col. Merritt is survived by his beautiful wife of 67 years, Marinelle Merritt. He is preceded in death by his parents William Thomas Merritt and Doris Evelyn Brooke Merritt of Magee, Miss., his son William Harvey Merritt Jr., of Gallatin, Tenn., and his daughter Cynthia Lea Merritt Mangum of Byram, Miss. 

      Rest in Peace Soldier. Thank you for your patriotism and service to our country. Without your efforts and your families’ support, our country would not stand so boldly, shine so brightly and its citizens live so freely. 

      You now have earned a rest, so go fly with the Angels, go rest high on that mountain; your work on earth is done. Go to heaven a-shoutin’ Love for the Father and the Son.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Chancellor Funeral Home Byram Location

7225 S Siwell Rd, Byram, MS 39272

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

Chancellor Funeral Home Byram Location

7225 S Siwell Rd, Byram, MS 39272

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Interment

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Lakewood Memorial Park South

430 McCluer Rd, Jackson, MS 39212

With Military Honors

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