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A lifelong Newton resident, Merrill attended Cabot Elementary School, Underwood Elementary School, Bigelow Middle School and Newton High School, according to the League of Women Voters 2011 Election Guide. He was then drafted in 1943 and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Merrill was first elected alderman in 1950 following his service in World War II. He also worked for a number of years as the city's veterans and licensing agent.
In an October 2011 interview with Newton Patch, Merrill proudly listed the titles and positions he's held over his many years of public service including: Former commissioner for the Scouts of America, member of a cancer patient support group at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, member of the Newton Advisory Committee and Nonantum Advisory Committee, former chairman of the West Suburban Division of the American Heart Association, former commander for the American Legion, former commander of the Newton Veterans of Foreign Wars and member of the Jewish War Veterans.
"I just keep going and going, I love this city. I feel that I make a contribution," Merrill said in the October 2011 interview.
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