Obituary – Dr. David Merkel

David Merkel, 75, died peacefully at home with his wife at his side on Saturday, September 15, 2012. He was born on March 7, 1937 and grew up in Saranac Lake where he, with the many friends he loved so much, graduated from Saranac Lake High School.

He received an A.B. degree from Hamilton College in 1955 and MD, C.M., from McGill University in Montreal Canada in 1963.  In 1964 he completed an internship and in 1969 a surgical residency at the Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.

Joining with his father, Dr. Carl Merkel and Dr. Alfred Decker at the Adirondack Surgical Group in 1969, David continued to practice surgery in Saranac Lake until his retirement from the practice.

Retirement for David Merkel meant continuing as Medical Director of High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care, seeing patients in the Adirondack Medical Center’s Bariatric Center and the Wound and Hyperbaric Oxygen Center; and in addition he was also Medical Director at St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation Center.

Dr. David, as he was often called, enjoyed a very rewarding career in the United States Army Reserve from 1965-1997 when he retired as the Commander USAR of the 376 Combat Support Hospital.

He was a Boy Scouts of America scoutmaster and a Girl Scout Troop Leader with his wife. Ann.  He was also a member of the American Society of General Surgeons, New York State Society of Surgeons, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, the Lake Placid Sports Medicine Society, the Academy of Hospice Physicians, the Franklin County Medical Society, the Medical Society of the state of New York, the American Society of Bariatric Surgery, The American Academy of Pain Management, and the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association Board of Directors.

David loved the Adirondacks and it’s opportunities for hunting, hiking, boating, canoeing, and snowshoeing.  He very much enjoyed his years as Medical Director of the Bobsled Federation.

He is predeceased by his parents Ruth and Carl.

He is survived by his wife Ann, and four daughters: Erica (Travis) Thomason, Sara (Scott) Bains, Jill (David) Mortenson, and Suzanne McGregor (Charles Neimeth); two sisters: Janet (Will) Klemper, Sara (Peter) Cameron; two brothers: Richard (Judy) and Paul (Lynn); and seven grandchildren.

A funeral service will take place at 11 am, Saturday September 22, at the Church of St. Luke the Beloved Physician in Saranac Lake followed by a reception in the Parish Hall. Burial will occur immediately after the reception at St. John’s in the Wilderness Episcopal Church Cemetery in Paul Smith’s, New York.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Church of St. Luke the Beloved Physician, High Peaks Hospice, and St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation Center in care of Fortune Keough Funeral Home.


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