PALMYRA – A Maine State Police trooper, remembered for his kindness and dedication, was killed in the line of duty 39 years ago.
Trooper Thomas Merry was setting up a roadblock in Palmyra on July 12, 1980, to stop a car involved in a high-speed chase.
“Sgt. Art Roy was in the vehicle with him and Trooper Merry, they just got the vehicle stopped and in position when over the hill came the violator,” said Lt. Mark Brooks, Maine State Police Troop C commander.
That speeding car struck Trooper Merry as he was attempting to seek cover, killing him.
“Merry was a very respected trooper,” Brooks said. “He had joined in ’77 so he had only [three] years on the job at the time of his death, but he was from Somerset County and patrolling Somerset County. So he was kind of in the area in the county he grew up in.”
Merry was 28 and married and was a new father when he was killed.
“He was a great friend, a tremendous comrade and just a tremendous person,” said Mike Cray, a Palmyra selectman and friend. “We really miss his caliber of trooper and person in the area.”
Cray, who is a Somerset County Sheriff’s Office deputy, spoke at a memorial for the trooper rededicated in September.
Cray worked to get the granite memorial for Merry moved to a more visible location near the bridge named in the trooper’s honor.
His son and granddaughters were at the re-dedication ceremony.
“You still have more of a family than you really realize,” said Ben Merry, who was around 6 months old when his father died.
“He was certainly one who joined efforts with local police to make that whole area safer, and that was exactly what he was doing when he gave his life in the line of duty,” Brooks said.
“We have a picture up of him here in the barracks,” he added later. “We see him every day.”