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Memorial Tributes, Volume 11
the Polish Institute of Metal Cutting. Universities also recognized Dr. Merchant for his outstanding achievements. He held honorary doctorates from the University of Vermont (1973) and the University of Salford, England (1980), as well as an honorary doctor of engineering degree from GMI Engineering and Management Institute (1994).
Dr. Merchant always had time for friends and colleagues, as well as for young people. In March 2006, he was honored with the Spirits of Scouting Award for his 80-year affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America. His soft-spoken manner and courtly ways were appreciated by young engineers, who were in awe of his monumental reputation and his important accomplishments.
“He was a visionary,” said grandson, George Alexander, of Taylor Mill. “He had a lifelong commitment to learning. He was never not learning something.”
“It was always a charmingly surreal time to visit my 90-something grandfather and have him show me new tricks on his computer,” said another grandson, John Jacobson of Milwaukee, a self-described techie. “It got to the point where I started taking along a notepad and pen whenever I’d sit with him in his home office.”
His daughter, Leslie Alexander, died in 2004, and his son, M. David Merchant, also died earlier. Survivors include his wife of 69 years, Helen Merchant; daughter, Frances Sue Jacobson of Pontiac, Illinois; brother, Robert Prescott Merchant of Lynchburg, Virginia; six other grandchildren and four great grandchildren.