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Merrill Lee Kaufman, 87, of Delaware, passed away peacefully in his sleep during the early hours of August 8, 2022. Merrill was born in Washington Court House, Ohio to the late Ellet and Ida (Blickstein) Kaufman.


He spent 65 wonderful years with Ann (Washburn) Kaufman, also of Washington Court House; and she survives.


Other survivors include two loving sons, Douglas Kaufman (wife, Lynn) of Hilliard, Ohio and Matthew Kaufman (wife, Charlotte) of Gainesville, Georgia and four grandchildren; Lindsey, Justin (wife, Scintille), Joshua, and Peyton.


Merrill was preceded in death by siblings; brother, Weldon Kaufman and sister, Connie Garringer.


Merrill's parents were retail business owners in Washington Court House, and he learned much about hard work from their example. After graduating high school in 1952 as the class Valedictorian, he went on to attend the University of Michigan where he was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma and Tau Beta Pi honorary fraternities. He also joined the social fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu. He received his Bachelor's in Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1956, graduating with high honors. During his studies, Merrill was naturally drawn to business classes which led him to further his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. He graduated from MIT with high honors and earned a Master's in Industrial Management.


Merrill fell in love with Ann Washburn when he was just a young man. He would frequent the local soda shop where Ann worked just to have a moment to speak with her. After a whirlwind eight days and seven dates later, he knew she was the one for him. They were married in a beautiful ceremony on January 27, 1957 in Washington Court House.


Shortly thereafter, they saw a business opportunity and purchased the Peoples Store in Delaware, Ohio. They relocated to Delaware and operated the store for over 31 years where it became the focal retail store in downtown Delaware.


While Merrill and Ann called Delaware home, they missed their Washington Court House roots and decided to purchase Craig's, a family store in downtown Washington Court House. They owned Craig's for over 29 years.


During his life in Delaware, Merrill enjoyed the time he spent serving his community. Merrill and Ann were the co-chairs of the local American Cancer Society. Merrill served on the Board of Directors of the Delaware County Bank and as President of the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce. He was elected the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Grady Memorial Hospital, where he oversaw its expansion and increased profitability. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce chose Merrill as Citizen of the Year for his outstanding contributions to the growth, prosperity, and well-being of the Delaware community.


Merrill's most cherished time was spent with his family. He attended numerous sporting events with Doug and Matt. He happily endured both sons' musical endeavors which included loud and lively rock band practices in the basement.


He enjoyed opening his home to friends and was often the host of annual New Year's celebrations. To keep up with the kids, he even took up water and snow skiing at the tender age of 44. He was a general aviation pilot and enjoyed flying with his family.


Merrill was a friendly, lighthearted, and generous man who embraced his friends and family. He will be missed.


In lieu of flowers, Merrill requested donations be made to the American Heart Association.