With great sorrow, we announce that Claire Charlene Grace Merrick, 79, of Bowie, Maryland, passed away peacefully on April 6, 2023.
Claire was born on December 1, 1943, to Charles and Nona Claire Milner Grace in Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up in Huntington, West Virginia and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Marshall University and was active in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. Claire was proud of her education and considered herself a lifelong student.
Claire’s career began at the NSA but it wasn’t long before she returned to the classroom as a middle-school social studies teacher at Belair and Tasker Junior High Schools in Bowie, Maryland. After leaving the classroom to raise her children for several years, Claire found a new career in educational publishing.
Beginning at the local publisher, Brady, and continuing with global publishers, Prentice-Hall, Mosby, Elsevier, and Harcourt, Claire was instrumental in starting and developing a publishing program for emergency medical services (EMTs and paramedics) when that industry was still young in terms of its professionalism. She established strong connections to physician organizations that persist and continue to strengthen EMS specialty. She had a heart for that discipline.
Also, relationships were hugely important to her in her profession. She loved hearing people’s stories and encouraged them to share about their lives, which helped them develop as authors and contributors. She remembered their spouses and children’s names and key aspects of their personal histories. Many authors and subject matter experts were extremely loyal to Claire because of those relationships.
Several of her key titles and projects included the Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS, published with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians) as well as the American Red Cross’s Health & Safety publishing relationship and their courses. Later in her career, the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) with the American College of Surgeons and the Baltimore MTA and other transportation projects were her focus.
Claire is survived in death and forever remembered by her son Curtis (Rick) Leroy Merrick, Jr.; her daughter, Kristen Claire Merrick Rickett; her sister, Carol Grace Habgood; her aunt, Karen Milner Graves; her granddaughter, Alexandra Kay Rickett; her grandson, Jack Paul Rickett; and her step grandchild, Kris Rickett.
Claire had a larger-than-life personality and was incredibly giving and thoughtful. In her personal time, she enjoyed collecting quilts, chenille bedspreads, and Luray pottery; reading; watching the news; talking on the phone; and spending time with her family and pets, especially in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. She was known for many “Claire-isms,” such as “making a silk purse from a sow’s ear,” which always managed to lighten the mood and capture the moment.