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School 09


Michael J. Merck

May 2, 1969 ~ May 21, 2018 (age 49)

Michael “Mike” Joseph Merck, 49, died Monday, May 21, 2018, following a two year battle with cancer. Mike was born May 2, 1969, in Toccoa, Georgia to Michael and Joanne Hutcherson Merck. Raised in Hartsville, SC, Mike graduated from Hartsville High School.

On October 4, 2003, Mike married Dawn McIlwain. Together they had two children: Ellie and Joseph. Being a father was the delight of Mike’s life. He enjoyed reading to his kids, playing trains, and teaching them about the world.  Mike also loved being an uncle and would play games with his nieces and nephew for hours.

Mike was an avid fan of all of the athletic programs at the University of Georgia but especially Georgia football. In addition, Mike was a voracious reader of all types of books, but especially fictional and nonfictional stories about history. He was involved in a long-term Bible Study group at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church, Lost and Found. Mike did audio-visual work for GNTV, where he enjoyed helping to produce large events for church groups, traveling around the country, and meeting many new friends. 

 Mike is survived by his wife, Dawn; his children, Elizabeth Anne “Ellie” and Joseph William; his parents, Michael and Joanne; his mother-in-law, Mary McIlwain; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Hope and David Wood and nieces Sarah and Hannah Wood; and his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Andy and Wendy McIlwain, nephew Jackson McIlwain, and niece Addison McIlwain.

The family would like to thank Dr. Philip Baldwin of SC Oncology Associates and nurses Wendy, Michelle, Holly, Lillian, and so many more for their dedicated and compassionate care of Mike during his illness.

A service to celebrate the gift of Mike’s life will be Saturday, May 26, 2018, at 11 a.m. at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian, 5503 Sunset Boulevard, Lexington, S.C. Visitation will follow at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The SCOA Cares Foundation, 166 Stoneridge Drive, Columbia, SC 29210 or  The family also encourages you to donate a book to a local public school library in Mike’s memory to encourage the next generation of avid readers.


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