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The Rev. Margaret Helen Merrell, a priest of the Diocese of Bethlehem, died on Monday, April 16, 2007. She was 85 years old.

A pioneering woman Marine and Episcopal priest, the Rev. Ms. Merrell served as rector of Susquehanna Country Ministry, composed of the parishes of Christ Church, Susquehanna and St. Mark’s, New Milford, from 1979 to the mid 1990s. She was the first woman to serve as rector in the Diocese of Bethlehem.

Prior to her illness a few years ago, she continued to serve as organist at Christ Church.

She will be buried in the family plot in Montrose Cemetery after a memorial service at Christ Church. Time of the service to be announced

After some 20 years of faithful service to the Episcopal Church as a layperson, she was ordained a deacon in 1973 and a priest in 1977 in Wyoming. She was the first woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in the state of Wyoming.

After volunteer work in her home parish of St. Paul’s in Montrose, PA, she went to Fort Yukon, Alaska, in 1956, as secretary-treasurer for an Episcopal Church-operated hospital, and later spent seven years in Fairbanks as secretary to the Bishop of Alaska.

She accepted a call in 1966 to St. Michael’s Mission on the Wind River Indian Reservation in the Diocese of Wyoming as a lay missionary. She was ordained a deacon while serving in Wyoming and named vicar-in-charge of the Shoshone Episcopal Mission, Fort Washakie, WY, to continue her ministry with the Shoshone and Arapahoe Indians, who shared the reservation.

The Rev. Ms. Merrell was graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music during World War II. After her graduation, she was one of the first women to enlist in the Marine Corps, where she was assistant leader of the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve Band. She was an accomplished clarinetist and organist.

Born November 5, 1921 in Buffalo, NY, she spent most of her early years in Susquehanna County. She was the granddaughter of the late Doctor Albert Merrell of Hallstead, and the daughter of the late Albert Lynn and Ruth Merrell of Montrose. A brother, Richard Churchill Merrell, predeceased her during World War II. Many cousins survive her.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Memorial Fund at Christ Church, P.O. Box 222, West Main St., Susquehanna, PA 18847; the Memorial Fund at St. Mark’s Church, P.O. Box 406, New Milford, PA 18834; or, the ASPCA, Humane Society of Susquehanna County, P.O. Box 485, Montrose, PA 18801.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Bartron-Myer Funeral Home, Inc., A Selected Independent Funeral Home, Montrose, PA. For more information or directions, please go to


Gertrude A. Leahy, 84, Susquehanna, PA, passed away on Friday, April 20, 2007 at Marian Community Hospital, Carbondale, PA.

She was born in New York City, the daughter of the late Arthur and Martha Pike.

Gertrude is survived by her loving husband of 61 years, William Leahy; two sons and daughters-in-law, Daniel and Brenda Leahy, Robert and Barbara Leahy; four daughters and three sons-in-law, Carolyn Giunta, Theresa and Edward Conklin, Eileen and Vincent Mohan, Patricia and Richard Mascenik; two sisters and a brother-in-law, Agnes Kuchera, Ruth and Joseph Kennedy; 18 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren.

She was a member of St. Martin of Tours Church, Jackson, PA and St. Phillip’s Church, where she was a member of its Altar and Rosary Society and was past president.

She enjoyed playing bingo and cards and loved to crochet. Gertrude was a loving wife, mother and grandmother and will be deeply missed.

The funeral service will be held on Wednesday, April 25, at 9:00 a.m. at Hennessey’s Funeral Home, 208 Jackson Ave., Susquehanna and 10:00 a.m. at St. Martin of Tours Church, Jackson, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be offered by the Rev. Kenneth Seegar. Burial will be in St. John’s Cemetery, Susquehanna, PA.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Martin of Tours Building Fund, Jackson, PA.


Stanley E. MacConnell, 92, New Milford, PA, passed away April 21, 2007 at Barnes-Kasson Hospital, Susquehanna, PA. He was predecease by his beloved wife of 70 years, Hanna Fallon MacConnell; two sisters, Florence Butler and Ruth Stanton; four brothers, Kenneth, William, David and Benton MacConnell.

Stanley is survived by four sons, Elwin and Joan MacConnell, New Milford, PA, Donald and Kathy MacConnell, Allentown, PA, Robert and Jean MacConnell, Roxbury, NY, Joseph MacConnell and Roberta Houlihan, New Milford; a sister, Marion Pickering, Sydney, NY: three grandchildren, David, Kenneth and Keith MacConnell; several step-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

Stan was a longtime member of the New Milford and Blue Ridge School Boards. He was an honorary member of the Columbia Hose Company and served as Fire Chief for 20 years. He was a Republican Committeeman for years. He was a member of the New Milford United Methodist Church, the Blue Stone Masonic Lodge #338, and the New Milford Odd Fellows. He was a founder of the New Milford Little League team and was a supporter of the New Milford Town Team. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and loved ice fishing. He was retired from PennDOT.

A funeral service was held at the Tuttle-Yeisley Funeral Home, Hallstead, on Tuesday, April 24 at noon. Interment, New Milford Cemetery.

Should friends so desire, expressions of sympathy may take the form of a donation to the Columbia Hose Company, New Milford, PA 18834.

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