It is with deep sadness, we announce the passing of Howard (“Howie”) Sexton Merk of Westbrook, CT and Tucson, AZ. Howie passed on February 22, 2023 at the age of 81, in Tucson, after a brief illness. He was born April 2, 1941, in Greenwich, Connecticut. Son of the late Howard and Edna Merk of Woodbridge, Howie was predeceased by his wife Veronica Matthews Merk and sister Barbara Merk. He is survived by his former wife Martha Beard Merk of Milford, sister Toby Merk of Chatham, MA, children Charlie Merk of Alexandria, VA, Wendy Merk Kopazna of Milford, Lars Merk (Melissa) of Newtown, PA, Dana Merk (Amy) of Hingham, MA, and stepchildren John Matthews (Cindy) of Tokyo, Japan, Kathy Rubinstein (Craig) of Southbury, Mary Matthews (Vivian) of Portland, OR, as well as fifteen loving grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
After attending Amity High School in Woodbridge, he graduated from The Citadel – The Military College of South Carolina and then continued his education at Yale Law School earning his Juris Doctor. Honoring his military commitment from The Citadel, he then served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. For his service, he achieved the rank of Captain and earned several recognitions, including the Bronze Star. Upon return from Vietnam, he then spent over two decades working in his family’s business beside his father at The Mayflower Truck Stop in Milford, before establishing his own truck stop in North Haven. Howie was a past member and President of the Milford Historical Society and past Director on the Boards of The Milford Bank and Milford Hospital.
He eventually returned to his true love of geology and formed a business that acquired, traded, and sold collectible rocks, minerals, gems, fossils, and meteorites. He was well-known and liked within this community and was proud of his reputation as “the Walmart of rocks and minerals” at various industry trade shows across the country. Even in his weakened and waning days, he still saw through his final Tucson Gem Show from start to finish, undoubtedly a source of pride for him.
A memorial service will be scheduled in Connecticut at a later date for family and friends.