Eugene A. Merritt

Photo of Eugene A. Merritt
Lt. Col. EUGENE A. MERRITT (Ret), age 87, of Little Rock, Ark., passed away peacefully Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010 in his home. He is preceded in death by a daughter, Beverly Ann Huff (Doyle); a granddaughter, Angel Huff and a grandson Clint Davis. He was born in Hot Springs, Ark., June 20, 1923, to the late Farris and Lilly (Adams) Merritt. He is a graduate of Lakeside High School. In 1953 he earned a B.A. in Economics from Ouachita Baptist University and received his commission as a Lieutenant in the United States Air Force from Henderson State University. In 1964 he earned a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Oklahoma. He was a member of the Imperial Council of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America; Lion's Club International, Commander's Club of Disabled American Veterans and was a member of the Piney Grove Methodist Church. Lt. Col. Merritt served his country proudly and with distinction for 34 years beginning in the Army Air Corps in World War II with duty in the Philippines and in Japan as part of the occupation forces. In 1953 he served in the Korean War. In 1965 he served on the Staff of General Westmoreland in Vietnam. He graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C. Later he was a liaison to the U.S. Navy with the Atlantic Command in Norfolk, Va. His military career was highlighted by numerous awards and decorations for combat and meritorious service. Along with his military career he was also a successful businessman in Arkadelphia, Hot Springs, and Falls Church, Virginia. In Arkadelphia he started a taxi company, operated a roller skating rink, established The Sportsman Club, Merritt Motors and the Daisy Queen restaurant. In Hot Springs he co-founded Warren-Merritt Enterprises to include the Yellow and Checkered Cab Company, a limousine service, the Hot Springs Shuttle to the Little Rock Airport, and Ouachita Sightseeing Motor Coaches and Budget Auto Leasing Co.. He founded Merritt Real Estate and was the proprietor of Twin Points Lodge and Dairy Queen. He was a major partner in VMW Development Corporation. In Falls Church, Va., he owned and operated a Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors. He is survived by his wife Patricia Sue Johnson Merritt of 37 years; a sister, Alice Stammer (Walt) and a brother Col. Henry "Buddy" Merritt (Ret.) (Judy) as well as two daughters, Brenda Jean Livingston (Bill) of Hot Springs and Melanne S. Anthony (Charles) of Centerville, Ga.; three sons, Robert J. Merritt (Cheryl) of Frederick, Md., Steve Merritt (Gail) of Little Rock, Ark. and Farris E. Merritt (Tina) of Bentonville, Ark.; 11 grandchildren, John Huff, Jeremy Huff, Clay Davis, Jeb Davis, Andrew Davis, Alex Merritt, Christine Merritt, Morgan Merritt, Ryan Pittman, Josh Pittman and Bobby Dranberg and 10 great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be 1 p.m., Tuesday at Caruth-Hale Funeral Home, Hot Springs. Burial with full military honors will follow at Crestview Cemetery. Guests may register at

Published August 8, 2010

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