Merlin Grover Briggs (83) passed away at his home on July 7th, 2023, lying in his favorite spot after a long battle with cancer. He was born in Cuba, NY, to Maurice and Onnolee Briggs on February 23, 1940. On September 21, 1968, he married Noreen Ransom Briggs.
Merlin lived a full life, only leaving his hometown from 1963 to 1965 to serve his country. He attended basic training in Texas where he was one of the first trained on the M-14, and saw JFK the day before his assassination. He served in Korea as a draftsman making maps and was recognized as a sharpshooter. Merlin worked from a young age. He started by haying and milking cows at home and later on worked on the Trenkle and Stafford farms. He worked at Market Basket, briefly ran the projector at the Cuba movie theater and then joined Clark Brothers (Dresser) as a draftsman. He spent 47 years as a draftsman and later a mechanical engineer at Acme Electric Corporation. In addition, he worked part-time at Motor Inn and Ace Hardware. He held the position of town assessor for 36 years from 1984 until 2020, serving as the Chairperson the final decade. Merlin was known for his fairness and going the extra step to ensure Cuba residents maintained their STAR status. He will be greatly missed. As a lifetime member and trustee of the Cuba Rod & Gun Club, he passed on his firearms passion and skill by training younger generations. He was a former Mason, a fifty-year member of Eastern Stars and an active member of the Cuba Central School Class of ‘57. He and many of his classmates remained lifelong friends.
Merlin left an unforgettable mark on this community and lived up to his wizardry name in his well-known knack for clever, unorthodox, and resourceful hacks to fix anything and everything. As a life-long car enthusiast, he enjoyed talking shop with like-minded folks. If you were interested and timed it right, he’d take you for a cruise in his ‘57 chevy. He enjoyed watching old westerns and reading Louis L’Amour books. In his later years, Merlin enjoyed making his rounds about town, visiting with friends, sharing favored stories, and possibly testing the boundaries of phrases no longer considered “P.C.”
Merlin is survived by his wife Noreen, his children, Edana (Mike Pfouts) Briggs, Kendra (Corbin) Wood, Garrett (Annie Tobiasz) Briggs, grandchildren, Sloan, Kylee, Chase, and Emerson Wood, Kazimierz Tobiasz, Camden and Conner Pfouts, his sister, Laverna Stohr, brother, Dale (Joan) Briggs, and nieces and nephews, Laura Tredway, Andrew (Sherry Trowbridge) Moot, Doug Moot, Marina (Eric Glinski) Heppner, Darren Stohr, Brian (Jen Coniglio) Stohr, and Michelle (John Bahel) Briggs. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Luella Moot, brother-in-law Edward Moot and niece Peggy Tredway.
He will be remembered by many through his unique euphemisms and as a man more likely to show than speak his affection. We’ll finish with his often quoted parting words to those he loved: “Keep her under 100.”
Merlin didn’t want a funeral. Instead, please join us in a celebration of his life on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 from 6-10:00 P.M. at the Cuba Opera House, 12 West Main Street, Cuba, NY 14727.
ATTIRE: Merlin would say KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in his honor to the Cuba Rod and Gun Club, the Cuba Rushford Trap Club or Cuba Circulating Library.
Arrangements are under direction of the Mark F. Rinker Funeral Home & Memorial Service, Inc., Cuba.