Benjamin Franklin Merritt was born in Mount Olive, North Carolina (NC), to James and Charity Merritt. He graduated from Carver High School in Mount Olive, NC in 1954. After high school, Ben joined the United States Army, serving in Company A 74th during the Korea War. After his military service, Benjamin received a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Augustine’s College in 1961. It was there, he met his wife of 56 years, Gloria (nee Sharper). It was also there, where he was initiated as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc in 1959. He received a Masters of Arts in Counseling from North Carolina Central University in 1971. His career in education and counseling, led him to mentor at-risk male youth throughout a 40-year career.
Benjamin enjoyed playing and teaching tennis and basketball. He loved gardening, especially growing fruits and vegetables. He and his wife, Gloria, made the decision to join the Episcopal Church, and were confirmed together in 1965. He was a dedicated member of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Raleigh, NC. Benjamin served many roles at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church. He was a longtime member of the Laymen, and served on the Vestry. He also enjoyed cooking for church events.
Benjamin is survived by his daughter, Benita Merritt; granddaughters, Adonya and Daniele Hood; great-granddaughters, Alex, Kayli and Jordyn Brockenbrough; nephews Bennett Merritt (Joyce), Kevin Sharper (Marcia) and Osei Delano Sharper; nieces Cynthia Allen (Walter), Cassandra Merritt-Mills and Andrea Bagwell; great-nephews Terrell Merritt (Destiny), Jerry Clayton Merritt and Zachary Bagwell; grand-nieces Latesha Bagwell; great-great nephew, Dereon Miller and great-great nieces, Diamond Cottrell Merritt, Dajah Merritt and Daphne Merritt; Son-in-Love, Michael Hood and Grandson-in-love, Kevin Brockenbrough; sister-in-law, Lucille Merritt and a host of family, friends and neighbors.
Benjamin was preceded in death by his wife Gloria Merritt, parents James and Charity Merritt; brothers James Merritt Jr., Clayton Merritt, Monroe Merritt and Roscoe Merritt; and sisters Dorothy Pulliam and Delores Merritt.
Funeral service will be held at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, 813 Darby Street, Raleigh, NC on Thursday, June 20, 2019 beginning at 12:00 PM. A one hour visitation and viewing will preceed the service at the church. Interment will be at Carolina Biblical Gardens, 1530 Creech Road in Garner, NC following the service.
In lieu of flowers please make contributions to: Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church, 813 Darby Street, Raleigh, NC 27610
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