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Merritt Dutton

| March 7, 2006 11:00 PM

Merritt E. Dutton, 77, a longtime Libby businessman, died Friday, March 3, 2006, at Kalispell.

He and his wife had owned and operated Merritt's Value Wise Foods and meat market for many years until retiring in 1989.

A resident of the Kootenai Valley for most of his life, Merritt was born in Libby on Dec. 13, 1928, to William Dutton and Bertie Steele Dutton. He was raised and educated in Libby and graduated from Libby High School in 1948.

He served with the Sixth Army in Korea during the Korean conflict.

He married Dorothy Benedetti July 15, 1956, at Libby. They resided at Albuquerque, N.M., for a period of time before returning to Libby in 1958.

He worked as a meat cutter at South Libby Market and at Detjens Market before purchasing ownership interests in South Libby Market in 1962. He later moved the business up one block to a new location where it remained until his retirement.

Merritt served the community as a fireman with the Libby Volunteer Fire Department for 20 years. He also had been a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. A longtime member of the United Methodist Church, he had served as a church trustee and, following his retirement, had spent many hours doing maintainence projects there and for anyone he knew who "needed a hand."

He enjoyed their home at Bull Lake and many outdoor activities, especially getting firewood. His favorite role was being a good dad and grandfather to his family.

Survivors include his wife Dorothy (Dedee) at the family home; his children, Paul and wife Julie of San Clemente, Calif., Pam Tharp and husband Gene of Rock Springs, Wyo., and Larry of Libby; sister Geneva Mast of Portland, Ore.; brother Dick Dutton of Washington; grandchildren Mike, Nicholas, Andrew, Christian and Delaney; great-grandaughter Tegan; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the United Methodist Church in Libby with the Rev. Robert Foote officiating; interment services with military honors will follow at the City of Libby Cemetery. Friends may call at the Nelson & Vial Funeral Home from 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday.

Memorials may be made to Libby Volunteer Ambulance, P.O. Box 777, Libby, MT 59923 or to Wings, P.O. Box 1550, Libby, MT 59923.