Francis C. Merrigan, 95, of North Adams
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Francis “Frank” Merrigan, 95, died at home, surrounded by family, on November 2nd. He lived a long and happy life and will be lovingly remembered by family and friends for his integrity, intelligence, and joyfulness as well as his unusually strong handshake, charm, and ability to crack himself up.
Frank--better known to many as Mr. Merrigan--was a proud, lifelong resident of North Adams. The oldest child of Francis and Maude Merrigan, he earned a Bachelors degree from St. Michael’s College and a Masters in English from MCLA. Frank served as a U.S. Army Sergeant in World War II and the Korean War and was proud to be a veteran.
A career English teacher, Frank taught in Hillsdale, NY, and Great Barrington before a lengthy and legendary tenure at Drury High School. While he left a lasting impression on generations of students, Frank’s greatest impact as an educator might have been as the first president of the North Adams Teachers’ Association, where he played a key role in crafting the North Adams Public Schools teacher contract that is still used today.
Frank had a very long and productive retirement. He produced dozens of beautiful oil, pastel, and watercolor landscapes. He published poems in the Berkshire Review and Upstreet and frequently performed his written work at local literary events.
Throughout his life, Frank enjoyed nature, most especially fishing and canoeing. Although he possessed a formidable intellect, he was happiest in simple, quiet moments. He once said, describing his ideal vacation, to just give him “a nice log to sit on and a little chipmunk to talk to”. He loved frequenting local coffee and ice cream shops, smoking his pipe, L.L. Bean, driving his Jeep, being in the woods, listening to the weather radio, military and presidential history, playing Scrabble, gardening, and--famously--vanilla ice cream.
Though Frank had many joys in life, there was none greater for him than being a father. He described his three daughters--Kate, Erin, and Meghan--as his “three best friends”.
In addition to his daughters he is survived by his sons-in-laws Nicholas Fahey, Evan Webb, and Mark Charland; grandchildren Walker and Oisín; former wife Marcia Ray; Otto “poochie” the dog; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and friends, all of whom he loved dearly. In addition to his parents he is predeceased by his brothers, John and Michael Merrigan, sister Mary Gloster, nephew Tim Gloster, and his first-born grandson, Griffin Francis Charland. His daughter Erin and her partner Evan played a special role in providing loving care for Frank at the end of his life, for which the entire family is forever grateful.
FUNERAL NOTICE: A Liturgy of Christian Burial for Francis Clement Merrigan will be held at 11:00am on Monday, November 9th, 2020 at the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in North Adams, MA. Calling hours will be held at 2pm-5pm on Sunday, November 8th at the Flynn and Dagnoli West Chapel, 521 West Main Street, North Adams. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 health protocols, all who plan to attend are required to wear masks and maintain safe distancing. Bringing your own hand sanitizer is recommended.. The family would like to note that they understand if anyone chooses not to attend services due to COVID-19. The funeral mass will be broadcast live on the Flynn & Dagnoli Facebook page for people unable to attend in person. Please visit Facebook and "Like" the page. Memorial donations may be made to North Adams Public Schools in care of Flynn and Dagnoli Funeral Home, 74 Marshall Street, North Adams, MA 01247. To add to the Book of Memories, please visit www.flynndagnolifuneralhomes.com.