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Robert Merrill

Inducted 2019

Robert Merrill was the founder of Merrill Masonry, Inc., a commercial masonry contracting firm located in Brevard, N.C., which is still in operation, managed by his son-in-law Steve Stout and daughter Debbie Merrill Stout.

Robert Merrill

Mr. Merrill was a founding father of the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association and served as NCMCA’s fourth president in 1977. He was a consistent supporter and leader of the NCMCA “Land of the Sky” Chapter which is active in far western North Carolina and the Greater Asheville area. Mr. Merrill selflessly served the masonry industry with exceptional capability and willingness to recruit, mentor and encourage others in the trade. His service to his community and church were legendary, having served on his county’s school board and county commission for numerous terms, and always willing to donate time, materials, labor and money to missions, community building projects and charitable causes. Robert Merrill was truly an exemplary ambassador for the masonry life.

Born June 13, 1929, Robert began apprenticeship with his dad, Bryan Merrill, in 1945 at age 16. After graduating high school in 1947, he worked with his dad at Ecusta Paper Corporation in Pisgah Forest, N.C. and played for the Ecusta Industrial League Basketball team. From 1948 to 1950, Robert worked in Washington, DC with Bennett & Stevens Contractors. Robert joined the Navy in 1950, and was honorably discharged after 3 months due to knee injuries from basketball. From 1950 to 1952, he worked for Garland Sherman Masonry in Chattanooga, Tenn, before marrying Lois Heath on February 12, 1952 in Brevard, N.C. Robert moved to Nashville, Tenn. to work for Bush Builders, before working for Hinchliffe and Keener Refractory, traveling over the U.S. for five years building brick boilers. His job was to go to a town, hire a crew and supervise them until the job was completed, giving him valuable experience for forming his own business later.

In 1957, Robert returned home to Western North Carolina to work as a residential mason. He formed Merrill and Smith Masonry in 1958 with his father and Gerald Smith, before beginning Merrill Masonry in 1960. Merrill Masonry incorporated in 1967. In 1994, Robert retired from active participation in the business.

Robert began meeting with MCAA Hall of Fame member Glenn W. Sipe and commercial masonry contractors Ivey Griffin and Red Brookshire to form what is now NCMCA. He served in several different capacities and on committees and was NCMCA’s fourth president (1977). He served as president of the Land of Sky Mason Contractors many times, as well as other offices in the chapter.

Mr. Merrill taught Sunday School for 35 years and served as a deacon for 50-plus years at First Baptist Church in Brevard, N.C. He was an active member of the Brevard High School Blue Devil Club and was instrumental in the construction of the field house and the press box. He served two terms as a member of the Transylvania County School Board and one term as a Transylvania County Commissioner. He was a lifetime trustee for Mars Hill University after serving active terms for 25-plus years. He was also active in the Shriner’s Club for 40-plus years.

He has been involved in many mission trips during his life, laying bricks and blocks in communities in Paraguay, Brazil, Dominican Republic and West Virginia.

Since beginning Merrill Masonry, at least 20 masons who worked for him or apprenticed under him, went on to own their own masonry companies.

Mr. Merrill passed away November 16, 2018. He was 88 years old.

Plaque Engraving

Began first apprenticeship in 1945 at age 16. Formed Merrill and Smith Masonry in 1958, and incorporated Merrill Masonry in 1967. Helped form the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA) and served in several different capacities and committees including as NCMCA’s fourth president in 1977. Has served as president of the Land of Sky Mason Contractors many times, as well as other offices in the chapter. Has been involved with many mission trips during his life, laying bricks and blocks in communities in Paraguay, Brazil, Dominican Republic and West Virginia. Has selflessly served the masonry industry with his exceptional capability and willingness to recruit, mentor and encourage others in the trade.

Masonry Hall of Fame Members

“We are a passionate group that can solve challenges through our dedication.”

Brian Grant
Grant Contracting Co., Inc.
MCAA member since 1996

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