He was born Oct. 5, 1921 in Harrisburg to Fred and Hazel Mae Gulley Dailey. He married Hazel Marie Hilliard on April 21, 1945 in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Merle graduated from Harrisburg Township High School in1940. He served his nation during World War II in the U.S. Navy on the destroyer USS Goldsboro in the North Atlantic and later as a shore policeman in California. He loved playing baseball and played on a traveling team into his 40s. He loved the St. Louis Cardinals. He worked as a lineman for Southeastern Illinois Electric Coop for 40 years; he loved his job and keeping the lights on. Merle was of the Baptist faith. He was a lifetime member of Ainad Shriners, Golconda Masonic Lodge 131 AF&AM, American Legion Post 167 in Harrisburg, VFW Post 9227 in Golconda and a 65-year member of the IBEW 702.
Merle never met a stranger and had a smile for everyone. He touched the lives of so many. He leaves behind a multitude of wonderful memories for his children and grandchildren to pass on. He will be greatly missed by his loving family and all those who knew him.
Survivors include three sons, Stephen and Sandra Dailey and Michael and Sherry Dailey, all of Marion, and Perry and Sandra Dailey of Metropolis; one daughter, Marta and Rod Smith of Harrisburg; his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Kent (Heather), Blake and Brianna Dailey of Marion, Beth Upton, Ryan, Dalton and Caleb of Marion, Brian (Tenley), Briley, Britten and Brooklyn Dailey of Marion, Kevin (Robin) Ethan, Fromm and Evan Dailey of Marion, Joe (Lacy) Dailey of Paducah, Leanna Dailey of Metropolis, Joanna and Jolee Dailey of Metropolis, Angie (Bill) and Britt Peyton of Norris City, Andrew (Jennifer), Micalea, Goebel and Drew Sweat of Marion; one sister, Reba Lane of Marion; two nephews, Dick (Maggie) Hilliard of Richmond, Va. and David (Julie) Hilliard of Harrisburg; and three nieces, Judy (Hugh) LaBounty of Oceanside, Calif., Myrna (Robert) Bossler of San Diego, Calif. and Sharon (Richard) Hazley of Harrisburg.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Hazel; his parents; and one sister, Lavern Allen.
Masonic service was held Thursday evening at Aly Funeral Home in Eddyville. Funeral service was held Friday at the funeral home. Military rites and burial followed at Sunset Lawn Cemetery in Harrisburg.
Memorials may be made to: Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011; or Hospice of Southern Illinois, 305 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222.