1939 - 2009
"My man in the moon, Love Always"
I'm no longer by your side
but there's no need to weep
I've left sweet recollections
I'm hoping you will keep
And if times of loneliness
bring sorrow and dismay
Don't despair, for I am there
JUST A MEMORY AWAY!
William “Hollywood” Merling was born and raised in
Baltimore, Maryland in the shadow of the steel mill. In 1958 he
graduated from Polytechnic Institute and went into the army doing
his basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas and then onto Germany.
He returned home to Baltimore, Maryland in 1964, taking a job
at Bethlehem Steel. He married and had two daughters and a son.
He divorced in 1975. In 1976 he met Linda who would remain his
partner for the rest of his life.
Ray worked hard at Bethlehem Steel, working both in the Primary
Mills and the Blast Furnace. He also knew how to enjoy life and
excelled in everything he did. He was an avid pool player playing
in tournaments in Baltimore and Ocean City, Maryland throughout
the 1960’s and 1970’s. He handicapped the horses and
was a great poker player.
Ray retired from Bethlehem Steel in 1990 after 30 years of dedicated
service. He believed that his retirement was just the start of
a new life. His love of the ocean prompted him to purchase a vacation
home in Ocean City, Maryland where he spent many happy times.
He also taught hydraulics at Dundalk Community College, traveled
to Florida and Las Vegas, restored a boat and took on many more
projects than he would ever be able to finish.
Ray was his own man. He was a man of few words. He believed that
people spent too much time talking and not enough time listening.
As a child Ray was very close to his grandfather and spent a lot
of time listening to what his grandfather had to say. And one
thing that Ray remembered was his grandfather telling him that
one day man would go to the moon. He read a magazine article in
the late 1990’s about human remains being launched into
space and from that day on his wish was to have his remains sent
to the moon. At times he would look up into the sky and remark
to Linda “one day you will be able to tell people you lived
with the man in the moon.” He thought it would be great
to have his grandsons be able to look at the moon and say “Pop-Pop”
Ray was a good provider to his family, a loyal friend to many
and a loving lifelong partner. He was a quiet man but his feelings
ran deep and sometimes he took life way too serious and found
it hard to let his hair down. But in his final wish to have his
remains launched into space he is saying to his family and friends
that he will forever be watching over them and only a glance at
the moon away. So bon voyage Ray – all of us will miss you.