Merle Thomas Downs

July 6, 1928 ~ April 18, 2022 (age 93)

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Merle T. Downs, 93, a lifelong resident of Hamilton, passed away peacefully on April 18 surrounded by family. Predeceased by his beloved wife of 69 years, Kathleen, he is survived by his children, Linda (John) Fisher, Karen (Albert, predeceased) Fisher, Dan (Rose) Downs, and Eric (Mare) Downs. Merle’s 10 adoring grandchildren are Jason, Casey, Scott, Kyle, Clint, and Tyler Fisher and Morgan, Austin, Sierra and Devon Downs. He was so proud to have four great-grandchildren: Brennan, Sadie, Alex, and Eli Fisher. Son of the late Thomas and Olive (Harle) Downs, Merle is also predeceased by his six siblings: Grace (Bill) Hubscher, Mina L. Smith, Jack (Jean) Downs, Betty (Gus) Napravnik, Shirley (Earl) Vasey, and Joseph (Betty) Downs.

After graduating from Hamilton High School West, Merle attended Trenton State College before starting his custom home building business at the age of 21. After serving in the Air Force, he returned to building homes in Hamilton and Princeton. The Horizon Home “Round House” in Hamilton Square received national recognition and is among the many houses Merle built over 50 years. Merle began teaching carpentry in 1967 at Trenton High School while continuing to run his building business. He was loved and admired by his students, many of whom kept contact with him throughout the years. Merle was a Shriner and youth soccer coach as well as an active charter member of Resurrection Lutheran Church since 1959. He was a choir member, youth group leader, Sunday school teacher, communion assistant, and church council member. Merle was perhaps most proud of the hundreds of children who learned to swim by taking swim lessons in his pool over many decades.

A 10:30 a.m. memorial service celebrating Merle’s life will be held on Saturday, June 18, at Resurrection Lutheran Church, 4315 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Square, NJ 08690. A luncheon, immediately following the service will be held in the Fellowship Hall for anyone wishing to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Resurrection Church, Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, or a charity of your choice.

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