Obituary: Nancy Merriam, 93

by | Jul 20, 2021

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Nancy A. (Allen) Merriam, 93, passed away on Wednesday, June 30, at Philip Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence. Born on June 11, 1928, in Providence, she was the daughter of the late William and Susana (Graham) Allen. For 65 years, she was the beloved wife of the late Robert W. Merriam.

Nancy is a graduate of Classical High School Class of 1945 and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textile Design at R.I. School of Design in 1949. She served in numerous capacities for RISD, including Class Agent, President of R.I. Chapter of Alumnae Association, and member of RISD Alumnae Governing Board. Nancy was a talented textile designer at Verney Corporation in Taunton and she founded the Department of Textile Design at New Bedford Institute of Textiles and Technology, which is now part of UMass.

As co-owner and Vice President of Merriam Marine Radio and Merriam Instruments in Point Judith, she and her husband, Bob, ran a successful business for many years. She was one of the founders and an honorary member of the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA), serving as the treasurer for 15 years, as well as a delegate. Nancy was the first woman moderator of the Radio Technical Commission for Marine Services (RTCM) in Washington, D.C.

Nancy and Bob settled in East Greenwich, where for over 60 years they were heavily involved in the community. Nancy was trustee of Preserve Rhode Island, president of East Greenwich Women’s Republican Club, trustee of East Greenwich Free Library, director of East Greenwich Preservation Society, and a founding member of Save Blithewold in Bristol.
She was a member of the East Greenwich Preservation Society, East Greenwich Animal Protection League, R.I. Wild Plant Society, Frenchtown Community Club, and Tri-State Bluebird Society.

Nancy was also the co-founder and director of the New England Wireless and Steam Museum, Inc., where she served as treasurer, secretary, and librarian since 1962.

Nancy was beautiful, funny, smart and artistic. She was the definition of a hot sketch, a proper lady, with a sharp wit and no fear of getting a little dirty. She loved dancing, bananas, arranging flowers, anything lemon, the color blue, birds (especially bluebirds), writing poems, crossword puzzles, laughing, making and serving beautiful hors d’oeuvres, calligraphy, reading mysteries, clam chowder, tomato sandwiches and collecting postcards and books. She also loved growing up near Roger Williams Park and the Natural History Museum where she enjoyed spending lots of time as a young girl. She was a naturalist and her favorite thing was to watch the birds and wildlife in her garden with a nice cup of tea. She will be missed dearly.

Nancy is survived by two children, Susan Merriam and her husband, Terry Jones, and Paul Merriam and his wife, Lindsey Merriam; and one granddaughter, Lucy Clara Merriam Jones. She was predeceased by her sister Margaret Moore.

Her burial will be on Oct. 30 at 11 a.m. at Edgell Grove Cemetery & Mausoleum, 53 Grove St., Framingham, Mass., in the Merriam family plot.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be sent to New England Wireless & Steam Museum in East Greenwich.

You can leave an online condolence with the funeral home HERE.

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Virginia Parker
Virginia Parker
July 23, 2021 7:56 am

I remember Nancy as a most gracious neighbor who, with Marion Fry, welcomed us to the Frenchtown neighborhood. We shared stories of as well as trials and travails of our historic homes. She was always there to help. In her later years Nancy’s presence at East Greenwich Historic Preservation Society functions was greatly welcomed as she and Bob had been such formative and active members of the Society. Nancy will be missed.


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