James Martin Merchant, age 89, of Simpson, Illinois passed away at 6:45 a.m. Thursday, August 27, 2020 at the Herrin Hospital in Herrin, Illinois.
James was born December 2, 1930 in Grand Chain, Illinois.
James and Veronica Maxion Merchant were united in marriage in 1988.
James was a lifelong farmer (since the age of 22). He was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He had been employed at the Vienna Correctional Center from 1984 until his retirement in 1992. He was the former Johnson County Democrat Chairman. Former member of the Vienna High School Board of Education. He was a former aide/bodyguard for Clyde L Choate. James was a member of the Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo). He was an avid coon hunter and the only 5 time world coon hunting champion.
He is survived by his wife Veronica Merchant of Simpson; grandchildren, Lance Merchant of Vienna, Kelsey Merchant and (fiance) Corey Rood of Marion, Andrea Merchant of Phoenix, Arizona; great grandchildren, Briley Shay and Brynna Jaye; sister, Betty Carlisle of Denver, Colorado; two sister-in-laws, Estrella and Dave Johnson of Vienna and Myrna and Bert Villanueva of Evansville, Indiana.
James was preceded in death by his son, Jay Merchant; parents, Earl and Elva Martin Merchant; brother, Edward Merchant.
Wilson Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements.