Merle Edwin Eisenhour, 84, died in Galveston, Texas, on March 30, 2008 after a brief illness. Merle was born in Durham, N.C. on May 15, 1923 to Vance O. and Lela Smyre Isenhour. He attended public school in Durham and graduated from Durham High School in 1941. The following September, Merle enrolled in the Duke University School of Engineering. In 1943, he entered the Navy’s V-12 program at Duke and graduated in 1944 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Merle then attended the Naval Officer Training Program at Columbia University, graduating in March 1945 as an Ensign in the Naval Reserve. He was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Forces at Little Creek, Virginia, where he served as Engineering Officer aboard LCI(L)-188.
Merle Edwin Eisenhour
J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home
After being discharged from the Navy in 1946, Merle went to work for the Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation (later Union Carbide Corporation) at their Charleston, W.V. plant. After enduring what he described as “the coldest, most miserable winter of my life,” Merle jumped at the opportunity to transfer to the Texas City, Texas plant in 1947.
He shared an apartment with two other plant engineers on 25th Street in Galveston. A friend introduced him to Mary Virginia “Dinnie” Ketchum, the woman who would be his wife of 53 years. Merle and Dinnie were married in May 1949 and rented an apartment on Avenue O, directly across the alley from Dinnie’s parents, Henry and Gertrude Ketchum. Their first child, Tom, was born in 1950 and Hank followed in 1953. The family had outgrown the apartment so they bought a house on Avenue O ½, a block away, in 1953. With the arrival of John, in 1961, the family needed more room once again and Merle and Dinnie had a home built on South Shore Drive. Richard, their last child, was born in 1964.
Merle worked in the Vinyl Resins unit at Union Carbide where he was promoted to Production Manager in 1965. He later served in other production and management related capacities until retiring in December 1985. Merle continued working for Union Carbide as a consultant until March 2001.
He served as a Director on the Galveston County American Red Cross Chapter and served for many years on the Board of the Galveston Boat Club and was Commodore for two years. He was Union Carbide’s representative to the Galveston Chamber of Commerce for a number of years, and was active in several committees.
Dinnie preceded him in death in 2002. Merle is survived by his sister, Wilhelmina Huffer; his four sons: Tom Eisenhour and wife Donna Savell Eisenhour, Hank Eisenhour and wife Nancy Eisenhour, John Eisenhour and partner Michael Hannam, and Richard Eisenhour. Merle is also survived by grandchildren Stephen Eisenhour, Matthew McCollum, Mary Eisenhour Bass, Katherine Eisenhour, and Evelyn Eisenhour; great-grandchildren Kenzington Bass and Mattox Bass; as well as his very dear friend and loving companion, Anne Thomas of Houston; Dr. and Mrs. Selden Henry of Ponte Vedra, Florida; numerous nieces and nephews, and many good friends. The family would like to especially recognize Juanita Jackson of Galveston for her many years of assistance, love and friendship.
Services will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, 2008, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston, with Father Ronald Pogue officiating; interment to follow immediately afterwards.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of Merle Edwin Eisenhour to Trinity Episcopal Church, 2216 Ball, Galveston, Texas 77550.
J. LEVY & TERMINI FUNERAL HOME