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Obituary: John W. Merck

John W. Merck died on March 9, 2013, at age 87. Friends are invited to funeral services at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, in the Memorial Chapel, Ft. Myer, Arlington, followed by military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

John, his wife, Carolyn, and their family made their home in Old Town, Alexandria for over 40 years. He grew up on a farm in South Carolina and attended The Citadel before joining the Army Air Corps during WWII. As an Air Force fighter pilot he was stationed on Okinawa and in Tokyo. After seven years of active duty, he remained an Active Reserve Pilot, retiring in 1973 as Lt. Colonel.

John received his BA and MA from the University of Georgia where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a Ph.D. in demography and statistics from Duke University in 1960. At the USAF Human Resources Research Laboratory in San Antonio, Texas, he was a research statistician and computer scientist from 1956 to 1967. He then joined the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., as director of USAF Manpower Studies. In 1970 he moved to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget where, over the next 20 years, he held the positions of Senior Economic Analyst, Chief of the Veterans Affairs Branch, and Deputy Associate Director for Government Operations. In 1994 he retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs as Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis. John’s professional passion was designing large computer systems; he relaxed with cycling, golf, reading, classical music, and crossword puzzles. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; three children, John Merck Jr., Rebecca Merck Coplon, and Geoffrey Merck; a brother; and three grandsons.