Loreda Audrey (Bigelow) Merrill April 16, 1931-December 22, 2021
In the early morning hours of December 22, Loreda Audrey (Bigelow) Merrill stepped peacefully into the arms of her Savior. Although she was born Loreda Audrey, she was known as Audrey her entire life. Audrey was born in Bingham, Maine to Roscoe and Olive (Dunton) Bigelow. Olive passed away when Audrey was a year and a half old leaving Audrey and her sister Evelyn to be raised by their grandparents Cora (Rollins) and Americus (Mac) Bigelow. From the time she was young, Audrey learned to cook and her family loved eating her cooking especially her doughnuts. Audrey attended Bingham Schools, and in High School she was on the ski team, and she was the pitcher for the ladies softball team. Audrey was the first Lady to win the Babe Ruth award. She was a caregiver to her grandparents at the end of their lives, and she worked hard to care for them and carried on her caregiving in her own family to the last few years of her life. When she graduated from High School, Audrey worked as a book keeper for Cooley’s Garage in Bingham. On December 31, 1966 Audrey married her best friend and sweetheart, Clyde Merrill. They were married on new years eve because they wanted to start the next chapter of their lives and the new year together. Audrey was a stay-at-home Mom until her children were in high school. Audrey and Clyde became foster parents, and over the course of 25 years, she cared for her own children and 44 foster children. When her children were in high school, Audrey worked at Athens Christian Academy as the kindergarten teacher while still caring for her own family. When she retired from teaching, Audrey still continued to accept foster children and she and Clyde adopted the last two foster children they brought into their home before finally retiring for good in 1996. Audrey also wrote poetry and she won several awards for her poetry. She had a “quirky"
sense of humor that carried her through her many seasons of life and her family would often join in and laugh with her. Audrey had a deep faith and a strong love for her Savior. She shared her faith through her poems and her caregiving with everyone she cared for and those who came into her life for however long they were a part of her life. She was a member of Trinity Baptist Church in Moscow for many years where she volunteered as a Sunday School teacher and book keeper. The last few years she has been a member of Grace Bible Church of Oakland where she loved attending and participating as long as she could. The final two years of Audrey’s life, she was no longer able to attend and she missed her Christian family and friends deeply. Whenever anyone would ask her how she was doing, Audrey would reply with a smile and say “One day at a time.”
Audrey was pre-deceased by her sister Evelyn Barbieri, a brother, Rusty Bigelow, and her son “Chip” Merrill. Audrey is survived by her husband of 55 years Clyde, her daughters Loreda Libby and her husband Shawn, Stella Benson and her husband Edward, her son Phillip, Her grandchildren Brett Leeman and his wife Heather, Nathan Leeman and his wife Olivia, Her granddaughter Brittanie and her husband John Levesque and their daughter Bodhi, Her grandson Elijah and his wife Destanie, Her sister Mary and her husband Peter Woodbury, her brother Arlie and his wife Peggy Bigelow, several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. The family would like to extend their thanks to the caregivers and staff of Beacon Hospice and Hearts of Angels Home Care. “You cared for Mom with love and grace as if she was a member of your own family. Your care and support during this difficult time has been amazing, and we appreciate the love and dignity you gave to Mom during the final stage of her life and means the world to us.”
A celebration of her life will be held January 15, 2022 at Grace Bible Church in Oakland, Maine with Visiting hours from 12:00-1:45 and a memorial service at 2:00. For those who will be unable to attend, Audrey’s Memorial Service will be live streamed on the Church’s Facebook Page and their YouTube channel. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Children’s Ministry at Grace Bible Church.
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