It is with great sadness that we must announce the sudden death of a dear former member Chris Merritt. Chris was a member of our club from February 2019 following many years as a member and longstanding President of our neighbour Club at Phnom Penh Metro. Chris’ love of Cambodia, its people and its culture then led him to Koh Rong where he lived a simple and tranquil life until his untimely death. He liked nothing more than kayaking around the island and hiking to its remote waterfalls.
He came to live in Cambodia a decade ago and dedicated his time to helping Cambodian individuals and communities. He touched the lives on hundreds of Cambodians and helped them to advance.
We will all miss you Chris, especially your smile.
Chris also had the foresight to summarise his own journey through 71 years. Here are his words.
Christopher Merritt, son of Anne and Merrill Merritt, and brother of Curt Merritt of Scituate, died August 23, 2022. Chris received a BA degree in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston in 1973 and served a year as a recreational coordinator for the Town of Scituate before moving to California for a year and then to Alaska for 14 years. In 1978 Chris successfully climbed to the summit of 20,320-foot Mount Denali with 2 friends which was one of his goals in going to Alaska. In 1983, Chris received a BS in Electrical Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and worked 3 years for an engineering firm before starting his own business. His business, Denali Computing Services, provided one of the first AutoCAD software, training and customization and computer sales in Alaska. In 1995, Chris paid to go to Russia to fly in a MIG-29 which was an experience of a lifetime. Chris’s Alaska hobbies included bicycling, mountaineering, canoeing and hiking.
After 14 years in Alaska, Chris was invited to join a start-up computer software distribution and support company in Atlanta which did not succeed in capturing sufficient sales. Chris again started his own company, CADMAX consulting, where he specialized in customizing drawing management software. Among his clients were M&M Mars (major candy manufacturer) and Eastman Kodak. Before the crash of the computer dot com bubble in 2000 Chris dissolved his business and took a full-time job working for a computer integration company interfacing PC’s to do specialized tasks in conjunction with mainframe computers, such as optical character recognition. After 5 years Chris decided to cash in his savings and take a year long, 20 country trip around the world.
Starting in Fiji, Chris explored, photographed and blogged his journey around the world on his website, notlostdammit.com. On arriving in Cambodia Chris joined a visit to a children’s center/orphanage to see traditional Cambodian dance and music, have a meal with the kids, and play games. He fell in love with these 78 amazing children and made a life changing decision to come back to Cambodia after the trip and volunteer for two years. It ended up being 10 years of volunteering as advisor to director and a whole new life in Cambodia.