Merle Francis Day

PARSONSFIELD – Merle Francis Day, 99, passed away peacefully at the Maine Veterans’ Home in South Paris on Dec. 4, 2019.
Merle was a Maine original. We will never see his like again.
Merle was born on Feb. 10, 1920 in the Pillsbury House at the end of Elm Street In Parsonsfield. He lived most of his life at the other end of Elm Street.
Woodrow Wilson was President when he was born. His father had a Model T in the 1920s; Merle bought a Prius in 2014. His life spanned from Marconi’s wireless to binge-watching MSNBC.
His early life was of unspeakable tragedy in 1927 when his family’s automobile was struck by a Portland to Montreal locomotive in Madison, N.H. He lost his mother, brother, and two sisters. He rescued his younger brother, Harley, from drowning after Harley had been thrown into a nearby stream.
After graduating from Porter High School, he enlisted on Dec. 4, 1941 in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He saw action in North Africa where he was severely wounded. After his recovery he went on to serve in Italy from 1943 to 1945.
In 1946, he married the town doctor’s daughter, Edythe Ridlon.
To support his young family, Merle had a number of jobs ranging from a bus driver for Fryeburg Academy to a store owner to operating the Kezar Falls power stations. While on that job, he rescued a young boy who had fallen into the power station canal and was drowning.
He used the GI Bill to study airplane engine mechanics at Logan Field, and then worked for several years for Pratt and Whitney in Hartford, Conn.
After returning to Kezar Falls in 1963, he worked at ITT Vulcan Electric until his retirement in 1984.
He was a member of the West Day American Legion Post 123, the Masonic Lodge, and the Kora Shrine.
He and Edythe loved to travel. They toured Hawaii, Florida, Bermuda, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, California, the Virgin Islands, and Badlands in South Dakota.
He also loved to fish at his camp on Stanley Pond, to smelt with his son David, and to spend lazy days on Sebago pursuing salmon with his good friend Howard Draper.
Merle’s loving legacy to Kezar Falls includes the Veterans’ Park across the street from his house on Elm Street and deep love for children. He was Santa’s Helper for generations. The Kezar Falls Post Office delivered all letters addressed to Santa to Merle. He sat at the dining room table and answered every letter with care and wisdom.
His original “Party Mix,” a hot and spicy snack, was a local legend. He became the nonagenarian entrepreneur.
In 2016, he traveled to the World World II Memorial In Washington, D.C. with Honor Flight Maine.
Last November the Town of Parsonsfield presented Merle with the Boston Post Cane to honor him as its oldest citizen, a cherished recognition for him.
Merle was predeceased by his parents and stepmother; brother, Harley; his great-grandson Bryce; his wife, Edythe Ridlon, and his longtime companion, Elinor Pulsifer.
He is survived by his daughter, Diane Day of Bedford, Nova Scotia; son John M. Day, and husband, Bill Marshall of Yarmouth; son, David Day of Porter; grandchildren, Ann Elizabeth Smit and husband, Mike Smit, Desiree Hopkins, Danielle Day and Maya Day; great-grandchildren Brooke Matthews, Brayden Hopkins, Jocelyn and Madeline Smit.
The family would like to thank the caregivers at the Maine Veterans’ Home in South Paris, as well as the Sacopee Health Center, the Kezar Falls EMTs, family, friends, and neighbors who looked after Merle allowing him to live in his house until six months ago.
A celebration of Merle’s life will be held at Poitras, Neal & York Funeral Home,
71 Maple Street In Cornish on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. A reception will follow at the funeral home. Burial will be next spring.

Memorial contributions

should be made to:

Honor Flight Maine

P. O. Box 1770

Portland, Maine

04104-1770