A granite monument memorializing a fallen state trooper is to be dedicated Saturday morning in Palmyra near the site where he died in the line of duty nearly 40 years ago.

The ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Maine State Trooper Thomas Merry was killed on July 12, 1980, near a bridge on U.S. Route 2 when he was struck by a car involved in a high-speed chase.

Merry, 28, the new father of a son, Ben, had parked his cruiser as part of a roadblock and was attempting to seek safe cover when he was hit by the fleeing car.

He had joined the state police only three years earlier.

The granite monument to the fallen trooper was erected in 1998 in a ceremony attended by more than 200 people near the bridge over the Sebasticook River.

A decade later, the state replaced the old, green-arched iron bridge with a flat, modern bridge, raising the roadway and moving it slightly to the south. The monument, already hard to see from the road, was obscured even further.

Pittsfield police Officer and Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Cray said the monument was moved to town-owned land across the road on the west end of the bridge, which has been named the Trooper Thomas J. Merry Memorial Bridge.

The monument previously stood on land at the east end of the bridge, down a small embankment in a gathering of pine trees.

There also is a granite bench, with the words: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” from John 15:13 of the King James Version of the Bible.

Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster, a former state trooper himself, was a detective for the Skowhegan Police Department in 1980 when Merry was killed. When the monument was dedicated in 1998, Lancaster was commander of State Police Troop C Barracks in Skowhegan. He and then-Col. Mac Dow, chief of the Maine State Police, conducted the ceremony with Merry’s wife, Debbi, mother Erla and son Ben present for the dedication.

Lancaster said the monument was made by Elias Monuments in Madison and that Trooper Merry attended Madison Area Memorial High School.

“It was a day to remember Tom and the sacrifice that he gave to the state of Maine. It was a sad day and a happy day,” Lancaster said in June. “It was a sad day in the fact that a trooper had died in the line of duty protecting the citizens of the state of Maine, and it was a happy day that we were able to memorialize his efforts. There were a lot of people that day. It was a very nice ceremony.”

Cray, who is vice chairman of the Palmyra Board of Selectmen, said the board approved using the site for the memorial. He said the Maine Department of Transportation was involved with plans for the move and the Palmyra Community Center Boosters raised money for the project. Local contractor Far and Beyond Landscaping offered to do the groundwork for the project.

Lt. Mark Brooks, the current commander of State Police Troop C Barracks in Skowhegan, said in June that his department has been in contact with the Merry family, saying he wanted to make sure that the monument’s new location would offer them and other visitors a safe place to park and walk to the site without interfering with U.S. Route 2 traffic in Palmyra.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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