Ernest Anthony Merklein, Jr., 81, died peacefully with his family by his side on Thursday, September 16, at the DuBose Health Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
He was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on December 17, 1928, to Ernest Anthony Merklein, Sr., and Josephine Dale Merklein. He was a graduate of New Mexico Military Institute and Louisiana State University. After serving in the US Army during the Korean Conflict, he returned home to Shreveport to help his father run the family-owned insurance brokerage business started originally in New York City by his grandfather Ludwig, of Nuremburg, Germany. On August 4, 1956 he and Ann Louise Hanson married at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Houston, Texas. They made their home and raised their five children in Shreveport, Louisiana. In 1968 he was elected to the Caddo Parish School Board and helped lead the school district through integration. Ernest was an active Catholic lay person, and in 1980 he received the Brotherhood Citation as Outstanding Catholic awarded by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. After selling his company to Alexander & Alexander now Aon, he built a national reputation as an expert in environmental insurance. He was a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club in Shreveport and Black Mountain.
Surviving are his wife, Ann Merklein; his daughter, Elizabeth Johnson Mike of Tigard, Oregon; his daughter, Patricia Jackson David of Towson, Maryland; his son, Ernest “Trip” Merklein III Anne of Longmont, Colorado; his son, Gordon Merklein Catherine of Chapel Hill; his daughter, Lessley Harwell Rob of Chapel Hill; his sister, Mary Sue Hughes of Austin, Texas; and 14 grandchildren Zachary, Kate, and Camille Johnson; Robert, Harris, and Turner Jackson; Josie, Adrien, and Alex Merklein; Sam and Ethan Merklein; and Emery, Dale, and Gordon Harwell. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Elizabeth Duerr of Houston, Texas and loving nieces and nephews. Ernest and Ann retired to Black Mountain, North Carolina in 1994, and moved to Chapel Hill in 2006.
Ernest will be remembered by his family and all who knew him as a kind, loving, and faithful husband, father, and friend. A service in celebration of his life will be held on Tuesday, September 21, at 3 PM at the University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, officiated by the Reverend Robert E. Dunham. A private Cremation Ceremony was held at the Hall-Wynne Crematory.
The family thanks the staff at the DuBose Health Center for the loving care they have given to Ernest and for their kind support of his family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ignatius Jesuit Retreat Center, 6700 Riverside Drive NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30328; or to Alzheimers NC Inc, 1304 Navaho Drive, Suite 101, Raleigh, North Carolina 27609.
On-line memorials: www.hallwynne.com. Select obituaries.