Joan Merryman. 

Joan Gail (nee Wrightson) Merryman passed away on Saturday, August 29, 2020 in Catonsville. She was born to Clara and William on July 20, 1939, the second of nine children. She married on April 15, 1961 and had two sons, Keith and Matthew, both of whom spent careers in the United States Army.

Joan lived the majority of her years in Chestertown. She was hired by the Town of Chestertown in 1980 where she worked for over 30 years.

“Joan Merryman began working for the town in 1980 while I was Mayor,” remarked former Chestertown Mayor Elmer E. Horsey. “She served in every capacity in the town office – she was the office receptionist, administrative secretary and completed the duties of the town clerk.”

“She was courteous,  dedicated, loyal, efficient and effective.   Our community lost an exemplary citizen when she left Chestertown.”

The Town Council honored Merryman with a proclamation declaring December 31, 2010 as Joan Merryman Day in Chestertown. Then-Mayor Margo Bailey presented her with a key to the town.

The Town Council memorialized her passing with the statement that “Joan Merryman was hired by the Town in 1980 and for the next thirty years, was a steady presence at the front desk and as a stenographer in all Town meetings, and was known for her wry sense of humor.”

Featured image: Chestertown Council circa 1980s: from left, Council members Mabel Mumford and Vito Tinelli, Joan Merryman, Mayor Elmer E. Horsey, Town Manager Bill Ingersoll, and Council members Peter Heller and Pat Mulligan. Photo from Joan Horsey archives.

This writer first encountered Joan at the front desk at Town Hall during the Spring of 1985 as a young reporter at the Kent County News. Joan had a great poker face and was one of the best screeners a government official could have, particularly when dealing with an inquisitive newshound out for his first big scoops. Once I got her to break a smile, it was a memorable professional relationship lasting 25 years through my days at The Pilot Newspaper and my work as an attorney.

Joan lived in downtown Chestertown for many years. First on N. Queen Street and then on Calvert Street at the corner of Kent.  Close friends recall that she loved the beach, was an avid reader and was frequently seen walking briskly on the sidewalks of Chestertown regardless of the weather.

She is survived by her two sons and their wives, seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter. She also leaves behind six siblings and 19 nieces and nephews. She was loved by many close friends including her longtime companion, Holden Rogers.

Her family expressed that Joan was a woman of faith and is in a better place as her final days were spent suffering from the effects of dementia. The family asks donations be made in her memory to Alzheimer’s research.