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Sharon B. Merrill

Date of Death: February 6, 2021

Date of Birth: March 10, 1943

Biography:

Harpswell-Sharon B. Merrill died on February 6, 2021, from Covid -19 at the Governor King memory care wing of Catagan Lodge, The Highlands, in Topsham, Maine. A beautiful, gracious, gifted and talented lady, she will be sorely missed by all of us that knew and loved her.

Sharon was born on March 10, 1943 in Freedom, Maine, to Clyde and Carolyn Briggs, the fifth of six Briggs children. She attended Unifree High School and the University of Maine – Orono, where she carried a double major in English and French.  After graduating with honors in 1965, she was a Graduate Assistant in the UMO English Department for the following year. In 1966 she moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, to teach French at the John F. Kennedy Middle School. The following year (1967) she was a Graduate Assistant in the English Department at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Her next move was to Somersworth High School in Somersworth, New Hampshire, where for three years she was a Guidance Counselor and taught French.

From 1971 to 1982 Sharon was Director of Guidance for the Raymond Consolidated School District (SAU 33), Raymond, New Hampshire. In 1982 Sharon moved to Cape Elizabeth High School in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, to become Director of Guidance. This was a position she would hold for the next twenty-seven years. She retired in 2010. Between 1971 and 1983, Sharon earned three Masters Degrees from the University of New Hampshire in: Comparative English Literature; Counseling Education; and Educational Administration.

During her time at Cape Elizabeth Sharon was recognized for her outstanding contributions to the counseling profession. She received the Maine Distinguished Counselor of the Year (1993) from the Maine Association of Counseling and Development. She served as president on the Maine School Counselor’s Association in 1988. She was treasurer of the Maine Association of Counseling and Development (1989-1991) and the Maine Representative to the New England Regional Assembly of the College Board (1986-1988). She was on the Board of Governors of the New England Association of College Admissions Counselors and a National Assembly Delegate (1989-1997). She served on accreditation visiting teams of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (1988-1992). Sharon assisted in writing the College Board handbook Beyond High School and also assisted in writing the Maine Department of Education’s Comprehensive Guidance Curriculum Guide.  A full list of all of the professional associations, committees, boards of directors and educational teams that Sharon served on is far too long to be listed here.

From 1992 to 2013 Sharon had her own private college planning business, Merrill College Planning. It was a complete one-person operation, she was both owner and staff. It was a lot of hard work, but she found great satisfaction in helping several hundred students successfully gain acceptance to the college/university of their choice.

Sharon was briefly married to Jeffrey Griffith in 1966. Following their divorce in 1967 she moved to Dover, New Hampshire.  In 1971 she married M. Heinie Merrill and over the next twenty- eight years they had many adventures traveling, skiing, tuna fishing, golfing and fishing for Atlantic salmon. They built homes in Dover, NH; in Bethel, ME; on the Carrabassett River in Bigelow, ME; in Cape Elizabeth, ME; and finally, in Harpswell, ME. Following Heinie’s death in 1999, Sharon continued to live in Harpswell and commuted to Cape Elizabeth High School every school day until she retired.

Sharon loved to travel. Before Heinie’s death they travel to Scandinavia, Austria and the  Rocky Mountains. After Heinie’s death she traveled to England, Scotland, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Costa Rica and Cuba. Every winter she would spend a week or more skiing the U.S. and Canadian Rockies with her sisters and their husbands. 

Sharon was a voracious reader and planned her summer schedule around area book sales. She built a substantial home library. In addition, she loved art galleries, art shows and antique shops.  Over the years she collected wood block prints, paintings, bird carvings, abstract sculpture, Navaho art and baskets.

Sharon volunteered for numerous local organizations in the Brunswick area. She was part of the Brunswick-Trinidad Sister City Association and was a member of the Brunswick delegation that made the first visit to Trinidad, Cuba. She was active in the local chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She served on the Board of Directors  of the Brunswick Golf Course. She volunteered at the Curtis Memorial Library and at the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program food pantry.

In 2006 Sharon married William T. Utley. Even though they lived only two and a half miles apart, they never would have met without the help of the internet. They had a number of great years  together traveling and playing golf until a long-term illness and a severe skiing accident made it impossible for Sharon to continue her normal life.  

Sharon was pre-deceased by her parents, her brother Robert C. Briggs and her sister Diana B. Lee. She is survived by: her husband William T. Utley of Harpswell; sister Virginia Moody of Saco and her sons; sister Barbara Higgins of Unity and her children; sister-in-law Audrey Briggs of Vassalboro and her children; brother-in-law Ronald H. Lee of Palermo and his children; and sister Cheryl Harmon of South Berwick with her husband Thomas Harmon and their children.

The family would like to thank the staff of Governor King and the Highlands for the care they provided Sharon over the last sixteen months of her life. They were always there for both Sharon’s needs and reaching out to her family members. They have made a very difficult period manageable.

No service is planned at this time due to Covid considerations. The family will celebrate her life at some point in the future. Memorial donations in Sharon’s honor can be made to: Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, 12 Tenney Way, Brunswick, ME 04011.

Arrangements are under the care of Funeral Alternatives 46 Bath Rd. Brunswick, Me 04011.

 

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