Robert “Bob” Eugene Merry, age 92, of St. Louis, formerly of Greenville, passed away Saturday, May 4 in St. Louis. Funeral services for 92 year old Robert “Bob” Eugene Merry will be Friday, May 10 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Oakville, MO. Burial will be in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Friends may call Thursday from 4 to 8 PM at Kutis Funeral Home, South County Chapel in St. Louis. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Shriner’s Hospital.
Robert “Bob” Eugene Merry was born on March 16, 1927 to Vera and Douglas E. Merry in Greenville, Illinois. He was the younger brother of Douglas “Uncle Shorty” and older brother to Julianne. All three of the Merry children spoke adoringly of their mother Vera who died of tuberculosis in February 1940 when Robert was just twelve years old.
As a kid, Bob would sit in the bleachers with farmers at cattle auctions and marvel at the fast talking auctioneers. “It just amazed me how they could talk that fast,” he said. Little did he know that years later, he would be the one bringing awe to crowds of people.
Bob finished high school at the Wentworth Military Academy and later enlisted in the United States Navy at the end of WWII. He later served in the Korean War, but not before finding the young woman from Greenville High School who would become his wife of 71 years. Veda Ruth Morgan asked Bob to the Sadie Hawkins Dance for their first date. Before the dance they went with another couple for dinner at Brieties Cafe, which is why years later he bought the wooden bench that sat out front to put on his own front porch. Bob never shied away from boasting about how much he adored his wife. Any time he recounted the story about their courtship, he would say, “I have got to have that woman.”
Bob and Veda raised four children (Donald, Sharon, Barbara and Pamela) who then gave them nine grandchildren (Paul, Nathan, J.R., Jessica, Michael, Ryan, Robert, Amy and Adam) and sixteen great-grandchildren. After the Navy, Bob and Veda opened a short order hamburger restaurant called Merry’s in Carbondale, IL. The 12-cent hamburgers were a hit with the college kids, but a fire would force Bob to find a new profession.
When the family moved to St. Louis, Bob began driving trucks while also working two other jobs before telling Veda in 1970 that he was taking his two week vacation to go to auction school. The boy that dreamed of fast talking became one of the most respected in the profession. When it came time to do his last auction 42 years later, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Antique Week both covered his final sale.
“Bob was in the heyday, when antiques were going for big money,” Auctioneer Bob Andel, Jr., of Robertsville Estate Auction in St. Louis told Antique Week. “Robert is “The Man.” He’s a legend around here. He’s a demanding presence. When I first saw him, I couldn’t believe it … he would demand money, he’d say, ’now damnit, I know you got more money in your pocket than I do, now give me a bid.’ And the people would do it – he could pull that off.
“The whole family is real close, and when they do big elaborate auctions, they want to do it right, and Bob puts on a great show. No one questions him. Now, Veda may be the boss, but no one questions Bob when he’s putting an auction together,” Andel added.
Robert Merry was truly one-of-a-kind. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Shriner’s Hospital.