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The scholarship was created by Mr. and Mrs. Richard S. Merrill to assist students from the Henderson area, and to honor Mr. and Mrs. W. Leslie Lewis, Mrs. Merrill’s mother and father.
The scholarship is awarded to a graduate of Belleville-Henderson Central School. The student is expected to show academic promise and financial need. The award will continue into the second year if the student maintains good academic progress.
W. Leslie Lewis was born November 17, 1895. He attended Hamilton College, receiving his B.A. in 1917. After serving as an infantry captain in France in World War I, he moved to Philadelphia, PA, and was employed in advertising, public relations and sales. He worked in New York City and Utica before moving to Watertown in 1933. In Watertown, he became the advertising sales manager for the Agricultural Insurance Company. He later became the personnel director and the corporate secretary of the company. While being employed at the Agricultural Insurance Company, Mr. Lewis went on to become a director of the company and of the executive committee. In 1936, he became director of Hungerford Holbrook Printing Company, a subsidiary of The Agricultural Insurance Company, and a director of the Printing Industry of America. From 1941–1946, he served as the president of the printing company. He remained an officer of the company until his death in 1955.
Mr. Lewis was very active in community affairs, serving on the board of directors of the Jefferson County Hospital Service (Blue Cross), the Watertown Community Chest, and the Children’s Home of Jefferson County. He was a trustee for the House of Good Samaritan Hospital (now Samaritan Medical Center), a member of the Black River Valley Club and the American Legion. In World War II, he served on the ration board.
Mrs. Anna Hamlin Lewis was born October 24, 1900. She attended Sargeant School, part of Boston University. In 1922, she earned her associate’s degree and was trained as a physical therapist. She was employed as a physical therapist at Walter Reed Hospital for a few years after end of World War I. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were married in the Episcopal Church in Clinton in 1925.
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis enjoyed a happy life and had many friends in the area. Mrs. Lewis was active in the American Red Cross and also volunteered at the House of Good Samaritan. During World War II, they would entertain servicemen, stationed at Pine Camp (now Fort Drum) before being sent overseas. They were golf and tennis enthusiasts.
Following the death of Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Lewis became a house mother at Syracuse University. She spent her summers at the family cottage near Henderson Harbor. She always loved living by the water as she spent her childhood summers with her parents at their cottage on Otsego Lake near Cooperstown. She summered at her Henderson cottage from 1956 until her death in 1988.
The Merrill’s son, Richard L. (Rick) Merrill is now the owner of the summer cottage in Henderson. Rick is a full time summer resident. Mr. & Mrs. Merrill are frequent visitors to Henderson and the Henderson Harbor area.
Richard S. Merrill was born October 6, 1928 in Auburn. He is a graduate of Eastwood High School, Syracuse. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, he attended Colgate University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1952. In 1951, Mr. Merrill married Marion Lewis in the First Presbyterian Church, Watertown. They lived in Hamilton during his final year at Colgate. In 1952, upon graduation, he was employed by the marketing department of The Shell Oil Company. Following a sales and marketing position with Shell, he joined the Kordite Corporation in 1957. This company later became the Plastics Division of Mobil Chemical Company.
Mr. Merrill retired in 1989 as a vice president of Mobil Chemical after a career in sales, marketing, and general management. The Merrills moved many times during their career with Mobil. They lived in Buffalo, Syracuse, Fayetteville, Rochester and Pittsford, as well as Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, and Verona and Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. From 1977 to 1979, Mr. Merrill managed the overseas plastic operations, the family lived in London, England.
Mrs. Marion Lewis Merrill was born June 24, 1927 in Utica. She is a graduate of Watertown High School and a 1948 graduate of Cazenovia College. She was employed as a medical secretary in Syracuse following graduation. During Mr. Merrill’s final year at Colgate University, Mrs. Merrill was a secretary in the dean’s office of the University. She is a certified Braille transcriber and was active in the National Braille Book Bank in Rochester. During World War II, she performed various charity work with youth groups in Watertown.
Mr. Merrill was active with charity work with the United Way while living in Rochester. Dedicating themselves to higher education, both Mr. and Mrs. Merrill have served on the Alumni Board of their respective colleges. Mr. Merrill served on the Alumni Board for Colgate University, while Mrs. Merrill was a member of the Alumni Board at Cazenovia College. In addition to Jefferson Community College, they have been active in the fund-raising campaigns at Colgate University, Nazareth College and Cazenovia College.
Mr. & Mrs. Merrill now live at the “Highlands at Pittsford,” a senior retirement community in Pittsford, New York. The Merrills spend the winter months at their home in Hobe Sound, Florida.
The Jefferson Community College Foundation is grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Richard S. Merrill for creating this scholarship.