Merrill Wayne Smith



Merrill Wayne Smith, 71, went to be with the Lord on May 22, 2024. He was surrounded by family at Franciscan Hospital in Indianapolis, IN.

Merrill was born on April 1st, 1953, at the Henry County Hospital in Newcastle, IN to parents Ledward &Roberta (Norton) Smith. He married Linda Eldredge Smith on November 25th 1978.

Merrill spent his younger years in Hancock County, Indiana and attended Hancock Central High School. He was active in basketball, band, 4-H, FFA &showing Berkshire pigs.

He graduated from Purdue University in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. While at Purdue University, he was a member of Farmhouse Fraternity. He played trombone in the Purdue marching band for 2 years and was president of Block &Bridle animal science option club. He was also a member of the Purdue meats judging team and livestock judging team.

He spent most of his working career involved in the swine industry. He raised purebred Berkshire swine. He was a past executive secretary of the American Berkshire Association, sales rep for Premier Swine and worked on several commercial and purebred hog farms. He enjoyed judging county and state fair swine shows including, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Oregon State Fairs. He also judged at the national barrow show in Austin, Minnesota and Keystone International Livestock Exposition at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Merrill was passionate about community service. He was a volunteer at Greensburg Community Bread of Life and founder and coordinator of Bread of Life fundraiser “Farmers Feeding the Flock”. He was also the past president of Bread of Life Board of Directors. He was a member and past president of the Greensburg Optimist Club. He was a member, past treasurer, and president of the Greensburg Kiwanis Club. He was a former member of the Decatur County 4-H council. He was a past member and president of the Decatur County Extension Board. He organized the Christmas party for Headstart kids for several years for Optimist, Jr. Optimist and Kiwanis Clubs. He helped with 4-H &FFA Livestock Judging teams, he also served on the Greensburg High School FFA advisory board. He was a Decatur County 4-H swine project volunteer. He was a past member of the Chamber of Commerce and board member. He was a member of First Christian Church and Sunday school teacher. He was a past board member of the American Berkshire Foundation.

Merrill received many honors and awards throughout his life. He was most recently awarded the 2024 Stephen Decatur Society Award (with his wife Linda) in recognition of lifetime dedication to service in Decatur County. He received the Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion Legends award at the Indiana State Fair. He was the 2021 Bread of Life Volunteer of the year. He received the Distinguished Service award from American Berkshire Association in 2017. He was the 2010 Optimist of The Year. He received the 2010 Paul Harris Fellow award from Greensburg Rotary Club. He was awarded the 1996 Distinguished Service award from Purdue Extension Service.

Merrill’s hobbies included attending hog shows, spending time with family &friends, helping others in need, and watching the Cincinnati Reds. He is best known for his humorous Christmas letter each year. He was a people person who never met a stranger. He loved those in his life fiercely and in return was loved by so many people. He will be greatly missed by anyone who knew him.

Survivors include his loving wife Linda (Eldredge) Smith. Daughters Megan (Tony) Schildknecht, Allison (Ben) Wilkerson. Grandchildren Teagan Schildknecht, Everly Wilkerson, and Beckham Wilkerson. Brothers Jeff Smith of Winter Park, Florida and Carlin (Karen) Smith of Petoskey, Michigan. Sister in Law Karen (Rex) Beck of Greenwood, IN. He is survived by many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is preceded in death by his mother, Roberta Smith, and his father, Ledward Smith.

A memorial visitation will be held at the First Christian Church on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm. A Celebration of his Life will be on Wednesday, May 29, 2024 at 10:30 am. Pastor Ray Sweet will be officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the Decatur County Community Foundation or to the First Christian Church of Greensburg. Online condolences can be made to the family at