David D. Merrill, a retired state administrative law judge, died Tuesday of pneumonia at Howard County General Hospital. He was 73 and had lived in Randallstown for the past 20 years.
Mr. Merrill counted former Gov. William Donald Schaefer among his friends, and they were members of the Gourd Heads Club.
"Their motto is: 'Big Heads Full of Brains,' " said Mr. Merrill's wife of 44 years, the former Shirley Clark.
"He was a very bright, young man who had a quick wit," said retired Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Mary Arabian. "He was quick with the puns and the clever sayings.
"We all worked in the record office, that's where I 1993 PHOTO first got to know him, doing title research, and we all shared a feeling of exuberance after having gone through World War II," Judge Arabian said.
Mr. Merrill retired in 1992 after 17 years as an administrative law judge, specializing in cases regarding the administration of state regulations.
After graduating from the University of Baltimore Law School in xTC 1950, he began practicing law in an office on downtown Lexington Street, specializing in patent law.
In 1954, he joined the Raytheon Corp. in Massachusetts, where he was in charge of patent disclaimers. In 1973, he moved to Ellicott City and opened a private practice in Catonsville.
Mr. Merrill was born and raised in Pocomoke City, graduating from high school there.
"He used to work packing tomatoes in canneries during the summer and after graduation went to Johns Hopkins University, where he began studying engineering until the war came along," Mrs. Merrill said.
In 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served as a radar countermeasures officer assigned to the 36th Bomb Squadron of the Eighth Air Force in Alconbury, England.
Last week, he and his wife attended the squadron's reunion in Monterey, Calif.
"I met him in England," said Mrs. Merrill, who was working at Harvard University's radio research laboratory at Alconbury.
"In walked this handsome airman and he didn't bother dating me but dated my roommate instead.
"We exchanged Christmas cards for the next five years until we met again while I was working for the CIA as a secretary, and then we married."
Mr. Merrill, who was decorated with the Purple Heart, was discharged with the rank of captain. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served with the 509th Bomb Squadron at Roswell, N.M.
He enjoyed stamp collecting, fishing and gardening.
No services will be held for Mr. Merrill, who willed his body to the Anatomy Board of Maryland.
Other survivors include two sons, David C. Merrill of Eldersburg and Jonathan Hale Merrill of Finksburg; two daughters, April Richstein of Pikesville and Jill Merrill of Fort Lupton, Colo.; a sister, Virginia Meitzner of Union Bridge, N.J.; and four grandchildren.