Gary Merritt



Tupelo- Gary Lynn Merritt, 71, passed away on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at his residence. Gary was born in Pontotoc, MS on November 9, 1946 to E.T. and Marie Merritt. He attended Lawhon; Tupelo High School, class of 64; Itawamba Junior College; and the University of Southern Miss. He played football, basketball, and baseball during his school years. He married his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life, Barbara Lynn Watts, on May 28, 1967. They celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in February 1968 and was stationed at Fort Campbell, KY; Fort Knox, KY; and Friedburg, Germany until his honorable discharge in 1970. He was also a member of the MS National Guard for 8 years. He and Barbara had their only child, Amanda Clay Merritt Golding, in 1971. She has been the joy of their life. He later gained a son when she married Stephen Clay Golding in 1993. Gary and Barbara loved traveling and have been to all 50 states including Europe several times. He was an avid hunter for many years, was a champion skeet shooter, and loved playing golf with his buddies, Charlie England and Mark Pomeroy while he was able to do so. He started Tupelo Fire Equipment in 1974 and retired in 2012. He served on several Advisory Boards while in the business. He was a member of Tupelo Free Will Baptist Church where he served as a Deacon. He leaves his wife of 50 years, Barbara; his daughter and son-in-law, Mandy and Steve Golding; and sisters and brothers-in-law, Charles and Shelia Estess, Matt and Rhonda Romito, Roger Lanphere, and Paul Thompson; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, E.T. and Marie Merritt, his father and mother-in-law, Roy and Mavis Watts, and his sisters-in-law, Pat Thompson and Peggy Lanphere.

Services will be held at 11AM Friday, December 22, 2017 in the Tupelo Chapel of Holland Funeral Directors with Bro. Terry Pierce officiating. Burial will follow in Lee Memorial Park. Visitation will be 4PM-7PM on Thursday, December 21, 2017 and Friday 10:30AM-service time. Condolences may be emailed to The service may also be viewed via livestreaming at

Pallbearers will be Ronny Parker, Charlie England, Mark Pomeroy, Dennis Buckner, Terry Brandon, Larry Graves, James Scott, and Danny Brown.

Memorials may be sent to the Tupelo Free Will Baptist Church Building Fund, 1650 N. Veterans Memorial Blvd., Tupelo, MS 38804 or to the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society, P.O. Box. 1185, Tupelo, MS 38802.