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James "Jim" G. Merkel Jr.

February 24, 1963 ~ February 23, 2024 (age 60) 60 Years Old
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James "Jim" Merkel Jr. Obituary

James "Jim" G. Merkel Jr., affectionately known as Jim to his friends and family, passed away peacefully on February 23, 2024 in Holmdel, surrounded by the love and memories of a life well-lived. Just one day shy of his 61st birthday he was born in Red Bank on February 24, 1963 and has been a life- long resident of Keansburg.

Jim’s heart and his life's work were dedicated to the community of Keansburg. He was predeceased by his parents, James Sr. and Barbara Merkel, as well as his stepmother, Grace Merkel. Jim's legacy is carried forward by his loving wife of 35 years, Beth Merkel, and his devoted siblings: Terry Blake of Middletown, Sue (George) Calmon of Union Beach, Kelly Merkel (JD Shannon) of Brick, and Karen (Trevor) Kirkpatrick of Brick. His role as a cherished uncle to Janelle, Ryan, Casey, Brandon, Dylan, Kendra, and Patrick and as a great-uncle to their children, brought him immense joy. Jim's lifelong friendship with his best friend and "brother," Michael Donaldson and his wife Patricia, stood as a testament to the depth of his loyalty and love.

Jim served in the US Navy as an E-4 from 1981-1985. Professionally, Jim served his community with dedication and pride as a Post Office carrier from 1987-2019. He continued to protect and serve as a part-time Fire Inspector for both Hazlet Township and Atlantic Highlands. Jim's passion for public service was further exemplified by his involvement in local governance, having been a three time member of the Board of Education in 2009 and was the Deputy Grand Marshall in 2008 for the Memorial Day Parade.

Jim's commitment to fire safety and community service was unparalleled. He held the esteemed position of New Point Comfort Fire Dept. Chief in 2007 and again in 2017, and he bravely served as Assistant Chief in 2024. His contributions to the New Jersey Fireman's Relief Association as a life member, his role as Department Chairman of the Keansburg Fire Department Commissioners, and his lifetime membership in the Bayshore Active Chief's Association highlighted his unwavering dedication. Jim's leadership and guidance were also felt through the numerous executive positions he held within the Keansburg Fire Department.

Beyond his service, Jim's personal interests painted the picture of a man who loved life's simple pleasures. A dad to his beloved dogs, Shamus and Lady, reflected his compassionate spirit as an animal lover. Jim found relaxation in brewing beer and casting a line while fishing. His getaways to West Virginia provided him with cherished moments of tranquility and reflection. A true sports enthusiast, Jim coached Baseball and Football for numerous years. His allegiance to the Yankees and Redskins showcased his passion and loyalty. In his leisure, he could often be found engaging in friendly competition, whether playing Cornhole, bowling, or simply enjoying the melodies of country music.

Jim's life was a tapestry woven with dedication to service, the warmth of family ties, and the pursuit of his passions. His presence was a beacon of strength and compassion, and he will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to his community, the joy he brought to his loved ones, and the smile that could light up any room.

As we bid farewell to James "Jim" G. Merkel Jr., we celebrate a life that exemplified service, love, and joy. His memory will continue to inspire those who knew him and his legacy will endure through the many lives he touched.

Family and friends are invited to pay their respects on Friday, March 1st, from 4-8pm. On Saturday March 2nd, there will be a 10:00am Service at the funeral home, interment to follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Middletown

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James "Jim" G. Merkel Jr., please visit our floral store.

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March 1, 2024

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Jacqueline M. Ryan Home for Funeral Services Inc (Carr Avenue Keansburg)

Funeral Service
March 2, 2024

10:00 AM
Jacqueline M. Ryan Home for Funeral Services Inc (Carr Avenue Keansburg)

March 2, 2024

11:30 AM
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Chapel Hill Rd.
Middletown, NJ 07748


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