Obituary: William S. Merchant – Portland Press Herald

William S. Merchant

FALMOUTH – William “Bill” Merchant, 91, died peacefully on March 29, 2022 in Falmouth.

We have lost a beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend. Raised in Andover, Mass., he was the son of Ethel Malloy of Galway, Ireland and William Merchant of Brighton, Mass. Bill graduated from Phillips Academy Andover High School in 1948, working summers and weekends with his brother as a caddy for the local. Country Club. His great love for playing and watching golf never waned. He attended Holy Cross on an ROTC scholarship and served three years on active duty in the US Navy during the Korean War and another 12 years in the Naval Reserve.

When Bill returned home after the war, he earned an MBA at the University of Michigan on the GI Bill (1956). He met his wife Jane (Hubbell) at the VFW in Ann Arbor, Michigan when they were both graduate students. A year after their first date, they married in Detroit, Michigan (1956). Bill and Jane celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on November 3, 2021.

Bill had successful careers at General Electric and GTE Sylvania where he developed lifelong friendships. At GE, he eventually led the International Lamp Division with responsibility for Asia, Americas, Europe and Turkey. He retired in 1993 from GTE Sylvania as Vice President and Director of their International Division.

When their children were young, Bill and Jane began vacationing on Drakes Island in Wells and eventually built a vacation home there. In the 1990s, Bill co-founded Save Our Shores, a grassroots volunteer organization created to preserve Maine’s coastal heritage. Bill loved to read, especially history. He loved children (especially babies) and lobster and the waltz at weddings. He loved Irish music and sang “Danny Boy” in a beautiful tenor voice. And he loved Jane. Throughout his life, as his travels made him a citizen of the world, he always felt that his greatest achievement was his family.

Bill is survived by his beloved wife, Jane Merchant; and their five children, Pamela Merchant and her partner Kirby Sack, Lisa Merchant and her husband John Shoos, Cav Merchant and his wife Sunshine Lawley, Mary Foley and her husband Robert Foley, and Kate Snyder and her husband Colin Snyder. He is also survived by nine wonderful grandchildren, Ryan, Connor, Quinn, Haley, William, Jesse, Isabella, Benjamin and Evan; and several nieces, nephews; and dear friends.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held this summer.

Arrangements are under the direction of Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland. To view Bill’s memorial page or share a condolence online, please visit

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