Virginia J. Merriam, Saginaw, Michigan

Died peacefully on December 16, 2009.  Age 93 years.  Virginia was born in Boston, MA on September 12, 1916 to Almina Rebecca  Allen Johnson and Leonard Theodore Johnson. As a young girl she moved with her family to New Jersey, where she spent most of her life.  She was very proud of her Swedish heritage and the business that her father founded -- the Johnson Scale Company. Virginia graduated from Millburn (N.J.) High School in 1936.  She married Rutherford Douglas Merriam on June 18, 1937. Together Pastor Doug and Virginia served Presbyterian and Methodist churches in nine of New Jersey’s 21 counties. He retired in 1979 and died on November 18, 1981 in Newton, N.J. Virginia then moved to Saginaw in 1983. She volunteered over 3,800 hours at what is now Covenant Health Care. Her involvement in the chaplaincy program was especially pleasing to her. A five year resident at Edgewood Assisted Living Center, she was best known for her close companion, Jere (a rescued dog) who visited from room to room.  She was preceded in death by a brother, Allen Y. Johnson.  Virginia is survived by two sons: Allen Hayes (Kay) Merriam of Joplin, MO and Guy Douglas (Janice) Merriam of Saginaw.  Additional survivors include four grandchildren:  Laura (Ian) Rowan of New York, NY; Paul (Angelika) Merriam, Santa Cruz, CA; Anne (James) Dimmick, Powell, OH; and Douglas Merriam of Ada, MI; one step-grandson: Keith (Leslie) Crow of Durango, CO; three great-grandchildren: Noah, Whitney and Finlay.  According to her wishes Virginia’s body was gifted to medical science through Michigan State University.  Her family wishes to extend its sincere thanks to the management and staff of Edgewood Assisted Living Center and her Hospice of Michigan team of caregivers for their care and special support.  A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 19, 2009 at First United Methodist Church, 4790 Gratiot Road, Saginaw.  Rev. Kathryn S. Snedeker, Senior Pastor, will officiate.  Friends may call at the church parlor one hour before the memorial service.  Those planning to express sympathy may wish to consider either the First United Methodist Church or Hospice of Michigan.