Joseph Stephen Merlo, Sr. was born in North Babylon, New York on June 4, 1932 to Peter Louis (Pietro Luigi) Merlo and Catherine Mikula Merlo and peacefully passed into the arms of his Savior Jesus Christ on April 18, 2017. Visitation will be from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm Sunday, April 23, 2017 at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 115 W. 11th Street, Roswell, NM. Funeral services will be held Monday, April 24, 2017 at 11:00 AM at Tabernacle Baptist Church, in Roswell, NM, with Pastor Jerry Beaver officiating, assisted by Associate Pastor Jason Perry. Interment will follow at General Douglas McBride Veterans Cemetery. Military Honors rendered by the Roswell Veterans Honor Guard and the Patriot Riders.
Joe met the love of his life, Janet Carol Lush in Brentwood, Long Island, NY and they were married May 29, 1952. She survives him of the family home. He is also survived by his daughters Debra Allen and her husband Tom of Roswell, NM, Cathy Henderson and her husband Richard of Roswell, NM, sons Joseph Merlo Jr., and his wife Janice of Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina, and Pete Merlo and his wife Tamera of Roswell, NM. He is also survived by his 8 grandchildren, Brandon Davenport and his wife Jennifer of Iowa, Ryan Davenport and his wife Kate of Roswell, Steven Henderson and his fiancé Heather Porreca of NJ, Kim Henderson Serrano and her husband Brian of TX, April Merlo of OK, James Merlo and his wife Grace of OK, David and his wife Emi of Bahia Blanca, Argentina and Ian Merlo of Roswell. He is also survived by 13 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews, whom he loved dearly.
Joe was predeceased by his parents, brother Sam Merlo of NY, sisters Frances Marshall of Italy, Mildred Fink and her husband Cy of NY and Joan Hulse and her husband Howard of NY.
Dad tried out as a pitcher for the New York Yankees in 1952 and was told to come back the next year. However, in December 1952 he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served his country for 20 years, and was honorably discharged March 31, 1973. Shortly after his retirement from the Army, he moved to Roswell, NM. Dad served one year in Vietnam receiving the Bronze Star, the Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars, as well as other Army Commendation Medals. Dad also went to Vietnamese Language School in Monterey, CA prior to his tour of duty in Vietnam. He also served in Japan, Okinawa and 3 tours in Germany.
After moving to Roswell in 1973, he owned and operated the Alta Vista Clock Shop where he built and repaired German style wall clocks with imported German clock movements and was known around SE New Mexico as the Clock Repairman.
In the spring of 1977, Dad received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Personal Savior and served as the Bus Director at Gateway Baptist Church for many years before becoming the Bus Director at Tabernacle Baptist Church in the later 80's. Dad has led hundreds of children to the Lord, as well as their parents over his many years serving the Lord. His greatest love was sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others.
Pallbearers will be his grandsons, Ryan and Brandon Davenport, Ian Merlo, James Merlo, Brian Serrano and son-in-law Richard Henderson. Honorary Pallbearers are Steven Henderson, Onsy Whicker, Tim Gum, Gene Wolf, Hawk Boardman, Mel Young, John Davis and all past and present bus workers.