Merle Raymond Cratsley passed away June 26, 2023 at his home in Odessa, NY where his wife Lois had been caring for him as he was being treated for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
Merle was born on May 19, 1941, the son of Frances and Raymond Cratsley; and the younger brother of Lorraine.
Merle's childhood was spent playing with neighborhood friends: the Drakes, Martins, and Bulkleys. Merle loved reading, electric trains, and airplanes. Merle looked up to his favorite cousin Wilbur Hawley who piloted missions in England during WWII.
Merle played football, basketball, and baseball and was in the band throughout high school at OMCS where he graduated in 1959.
Merle studied at Syracuse University and Elmira College and spent time in the army. He met his lifelong friend Terry Holdridge in Texas while on a cross-country trip with Craig Hill.
When employed at Artistic Card in Elmira he met Lois Diane Williams whom he married in 1965. They built a home in Odessa and welcomed two daughters, Cynthia and Elizabeth. As a family, they enjoyed outdoor activities, snowmobiling, family vacations, and spending time at their cabin in the woods and their cottage on Seneca Lake.
Merle had a long career as a salesman traveling over a large swath of central New York, gathering stories along the way. After his retirement, he delved into his passion, creating a nine-hole golf course in his backyard. Merle loved spending time mowing, caring for the greens, and being outside as much as he loved socializing with the many people who came to play golf, or just share a story in the "clubhouse". Merle especially enjoyed hosting a weekly "Couples' Golf Night" and "a Men's League Night", and participating in "Bubbles and Broth" a gourmet dinner group with dear friends.
Merle was a member of the Odessa Methodist Church; a lifetime member of the Moose Club and the Watkins Glen Elk's Lodge #1546; a 50-year member of The Masonic Lodge #131; and a lifetime member and past president of the Mechanic's Club. Members and friends there will remember his quick wit and ability to tell a fabulous story recalling all the historical facts as well.
Merle is survived by Lois, his wife of 58 years with their dear pup, Bailey; daughter Cynthia, her husband Danny Ward, and her sons Caleb, Tristan, and Gabriel Harrington; daughter Elizabeth her husband Boomer Gossett, his right-hand man on the hill, and his sons Dillon and Kristopher; his sister Lorraine Rhynehart of Eustis, Florida, nieces and nephews, and a host of friends.
The family would like to thank the caring and compassionate staff at Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, especially Dr. Ahmad, Dr. Saks, Pat Kelly, and the Swing Bed Program. A special thank you to Dr. Colleen Crandall as well.
No formal services are planned at this time. In his memory, take a walk in the woods and enjoy the beauty of God's creation.