MERKEL – Robert J. (Bob) Merkel age 82 of Traverse City formerly of Grand Rapids went to be with the Lord January 18 2009 after a long and courageous battle with a rare brain disease. He is survived by his wife of 55 years Joanne (Leidheiser) Merkel; children Patricia Merkel of Traverse City Brian (Anne) Merkel of Saline MI Alison (Brian) Arnson of Grand Rapids Kevin Merkel of Traverse City; grandsons Brandon and Jordan Arnson Brayden Merkel; brothers Eugene (Dorothy) Merkel Donald (Julie) Merkel; sisters Elizabeth Wright Marion Caggiano; brother-in-law Larry Leidheiser; numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother Paul Merkel. Bob served in the Navy from 1942 1946 and attended Rensselaer Poly Technic Institute School of Engineering. He was a communication specialist and owned Merkel Engineering for 30 years. He retired and moved to Leelanau County and eventually to Traverse City. Bob was a former member of Blythefield Country Club. He loved and was devoted to his wife children and grandchildren. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at St. Paul the Apostle Church 2750 Burton SE. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Visitation 6-8 PM at the OBrien-Eggebeen-Gerst Funeral Home 3980 Cascade Rd. SE. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Michigan 1260 Ekhart NE Grand Rapids Michigan 49503.