Merritt L. Raiford
Published 9:25 am Thursday, May 12, 2022
FRANKLIN – Merritt Lloyd Raiford, 94, husband of 58 years to the late Mary Vaughan Harris Raiford, passed away peacefully on May 10, 2022 in East Pavilion. A native of Southampton County and the last remaining of 12 children, he was a son of the late Lloyd Monroe Raiford and Helen Joyner Raiford. He was also predeceased by a daughter-in-law, Sylvie Berry Raiford.
Merritt was a graduate of Franklin High School and a received a bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management from Virginia Tech where he was a walk on catcher for their baseball team, receiving a monogram from VA Tech in baseball. He was also in the Corps of Cadets at VA Tech. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Air Force and was a 1st Lieutenant assigned to the 637 A. C. & W. SQ at Othello, Washington serving during the Korean War. He retired from Royster Company as a chemical and fertilizer sales supervisor for Eastern Virginia.
He loved young people and was president of the Franklin-Southampton Fast Pitch Church Softball league for over 20 years. Merritt was a deacon, serving as the chairman of the Board of Deacons and a trustee of Burdette Baptist Church for over 50 years. He also served as Sunday School Superintendent for over 25 years.
Merritt was a member of Purdie Masonic Lodge No. 170 AF&AM in Windsor for 70 years and a 32 Degree Mason. He was also a Shriner and a member of the Hokie Club where he was a former treasurer. He was a loyal Hokie and an avid hunter and fisherman.
Left to cherish his memory is a daughter, Lynn W. King (Delford) of Rawlings, Virginia; a son, Daniel M. Raiford of Burdette; five grandchildren, Chris King (Mitzi), Katy King Slagle (Jonathan), Kelly King Jones (Brandon), Jennifer Raiford Domer (Sean) and Jeffrey Raiford (Stephanie); eight great-grandchildren; one great-great grandchild; and many nieces and nephews.
A graveside service with military honors and Masonic Rites will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 15 in Beechwood Cemetery with Pastor Joe Poe officiating. There will be a reception following the service at Burdette Baptist Church. The family will receive friends from 6 – 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 in the funeral home and suggests that memorial donations be made to Burdette Baptist Church, c/o Vanessa Bailey, Indiantown Road, Courtland, VA 23837.
The family would like to thank the staff and doctors at Southampton Memorial Hospital and East Pavilion for their wonderful care.