At age 100, Gerald, Mo., woman still active in politics

Monday, June 11, 2012

GERALD, Mo. -- After 20 years on the Franklin County Republican Central Committee in eastern Missouri, Alice Merrill is stepping down.

She's earned the right. She turned 100 earlier this year.

Miller's final meeting as a voting member was May 8. New members will be elected in August, according to The Washington Missourian.

Not that Merrill, of Gerald, is planning to take it easy. She's still active in the community, still involved in politics and still plans to attend Republican meetings.

Merrill has been active in GOP politics since attending Washington University eight decades ago. As a committeewoman, she helped numerous candidates get elected. Her philosophy was simple: Get out and knock on doors.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., said Merrill "sets an example for the rest of us as she continues to be a supporter and works in the [Republican] organization."

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder called Merrill "an inspiration to us all."

Merrill went to work for the American Red Cross after graduating from college, then left to help her father run a farm in Jefferson County. She and her husband, John Cammett Merrill, an engineer who graduated from Yale University, eventually moved to the Washington, D.C., area, and spent 30 years there.

While there, Merrill was appointed to a political central committee in Maryland and joined the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women.

The family -- Merrill has one son, now a lawyer in Colorado -- moved to Franklin County in the 1970s. After her husband's death, she immersed herself in community involvement and politics, first joining the county Republican Central Committee before being appointed a committeewoman. Merrill called serving on the committee a simple role in government, but "it's still very important," she said.

"On the committee, you get out and talk to people and understand what they really think," Merrill said.

At a special tribute to Merrill in March, state Sen. Brian Nieves, a Republican from Franklin County, presented her with a Missouri Senate resolution in her honor.

"She's a long-term fighter," Nieves said. "We appreciate everything you've done."

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