GORHAM – Chester W. Merrifield Jr., a longtime truck driver for Hannaford Bros. who went on to start his own business hauling sand and gravel, died Tuesday. He was 79.

Mr. Merrifield was a truck driver for Hannaford for nearly 20 years, delivering food to grocery stores throughout northern New England.

His son Chester W. Merrifield III of Standish said he loved his job and enjoyed the camaraderie with the other drivers.

“My father always said, ‘Once you start down the road, you are your own boss,’” his son recalled Thursday.

Mr. Merrifield left Hannaford and started his own company, C. W. Merrifield Trucking, in 1980. He hauled sand and gravel for businesses such as R.J. Grondin & Sons and Shaw Brothers Construction in Gorham, and White Brothers in Westbrook.

His son joined the business around 1982. He worked with his father for six or seven years before the economy took a downturn and the business folded.

“It was a good time,” his son said. “He was a truck driver for years and I had always wanted to be one. I still drive today.”

Mr. Merrifield was married to Edna Merrifield for 54 years. The couple raised four children. His son Edward Riley, from his wife’s first marriage, died in a car accident in February of 1970 at age 22.

His daughter, Francine Edwards of Naples, said her parents had a happy life together. Edna Merrifield died in 2007.

“When my mom died, I really thought my father would give up, because he depended on her so much,” his daughter said. “He missed her terribly. They were very close. They depended on each other.”

Mr. Merrifield was remembered by his children Thursday as a positive and generous person who often reached out to help others.

His daughter said he did small favors for neighbors and friends, and offered money to people who were in need.

“He would do anything for anyone,” his daughter said.

Edwards said she learned by her father’s example.

“I’ll miss him being here. I would come down every week and help him after my mom died,” she said.

Mr. Merrifield had a passion for the outdoors, dating back to his youth, when he grew up near the banks of the Presumpscot River. He enjoyed fishing and gardening.

His son said one of his fondest memories, from when he was growing up, is fishing with his father on Sebago Lake.

“I’ll miss those days fishing, of being able to fish together,” his son said.

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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