Bruce I. Merchant, 72, of John Rust Road, passed away peacefully Wednesday evening, October 6, 2021, with his family at his side following a courageous battle with cancer.
Born on November 20, 1948, in Catskill, NY, he was the son of the late John D. and Eloise (Ostrander) Merchant. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.
On June 20, 1970, he married the love of his life, Martha Kelly, in Belfast, Maine. Together they have enjoyed 51 years of marriage and adventures living in 11 states.
Bruce enlisted in the United States Coast Guard in 1970. He served as Quartermaster, then entered Officer Candidate School in 1971, and then attended flight training school with the United States Navy in Pensacola, Florida. He was a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot for the Coast Guard until his retirement in 1998, with much of that time spent in Alaska (Annette Island, Sitka, and Juneau). Bruce often described his time flying helicopters as the most fulfilling of his life.
After retirement he continued his commitment to saving people by joining the National Ski Patrol and serving at the Hidden Valley Resort in Pennsylvania. He was an avid downhill skier and created many fond memories skiing with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Indeed, his embrace of hobbies and civic engagement, especially after retirement, leaves a lasting legacy of service, friendship, and goodwill.
Beyond skiing, Bruce enjoyed the outdoors immensely through hunting, kayaking, fishing, photography, and flying drones to make videos. He was an avid hiker -- an Adirondack 46er who climbed all the fire towers, the Vermont high peaks, and most of the New Hampshire White Mountains. He also enjoyed reading (especially science fiction), jigsaw puzzles, Pokemon Go, cross stitch, and quilting. Bruce was a member of the North Creek Rotary Club and the Indian Lake Volunteer Ambulance Corps (continuing his life-long passion for saving people).
He was predeceased by his parents and a brother, Henry Merchant.
Survivors include his loving wife, Martha Merchant; a daughter, Tanya Merchant (Alen Plićanić) of Santa Cruz, CA; two sons: Eric Merchant (Stephenie Frank) of Oregon; Kevin Merchant of Killington, VT; two grandchildren: John Plićanić and Adrian Plićanić; two sisters: Elizabeth (Thomas) Garrity of Punta Gorda, FL, and Mary Merchant of Plattsburgh; and several nieces and nephews.
Graveside services will be conducted 1 p.m. Saturday, October 16, 2021 at Cedar River Cemetery, Indian Lake.
A celebration of Bruce’s life will follow at Byron Park in Indian Lake.
To plant a tree in memory of Bruce I. Merchant, please click here.