Merle’s Obituary

Dr. Merle Edward Hamburger of Lilburn, GA, born March 1, 1966, died of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm. Merle’s life was dedicated to the development of good character, strong values, and positive self-image of today’s youth. His work at the Centers for Disease Control focused on preventing youth and domestic violence. As a black belt in the martial arts, he taught students courage, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit at Northeast Tae Kwon Do and American Karate Productions. He was also active in adult leader training for the Boy Scouts of America and an involved leader of the youth at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett. Merle is survived by his wife, MaryBeth; children Benjamin, Kevin, and Abigail; mother Sydney; and siblings Marjorie, Isaac, and Sidney. Merle was predeceased by his father, Edward and older brother, Sandy. A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett, 12 Bethesda Church Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30044 on Monday, July 25 at 2:30pm. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Awareness Network,

  1. Goodbye, Merle. You were a huge part of my life and a wonderful, amazing human being. I hope that wherever you are, there are hills to climb, campfires to build, and dutch ovens to cook with.

    My love with be with you always.

  2. My deepest condolences to all of Merle’s friends and family. So sorry to hear the news. Merle and I started graduate school together. I remember in our first class we were asked to introduce ourselves, and give an anecdote about ourselves. When it was Merle’s turn he said “I’m Merle Hamburger, and that’s my anecdote.” The room fell apart with laughter, setting the tone of interacting with Merle from that point on. So very sorry for his loss.

  3. A beautiful obituary. I know Merle’s loss is deeply felt by many. It’s my regret that I didn’t know him better, but I also feel like it was a gift that I knew him at all. My heart is with the Hamburger family.

  4. Love that quote Virginia. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Dr. H, was one of my blackbelt associates that has had a great impact on his American Karate Production family. His lost will always be felt by us. We will always miss his present on the mat. He was a calm wind that effected all of us in that way. Terry, Teresa and Marcel jenkins, your blackbelt associates, love you and your family. I wish very much that I had a way of lifing the pain from everyone…..We love you Dr H.

  6. I will miss you, Merle. What a fight you put up; what an inspiration you were and will continue to be.
    You were an amazing project officer and friend. Hope you’re enjoying all of the margaritas you can drink in heaven (have one for me!) ;+)
    hugs and love

  7. My deepest condolences to Merle’s wife and children and family. This is a shock – my wife and I haven’t talked to Merle and Marybeth since our wedding, when he took our pix way back in August 2006. I knew Merle at work (CDC) and soon after the wedding, he had taken a job at a different building/campus, so we didn’t see each other. I’m glad he created this blog – we’ll have to read thru it.
    Thanks for the memories Merle!


  9. I know that like many of Merle’s SSSS colleagues, I am sorry I can’t be there tomorrow. I wonder if one of the family might post an address for sympathy cards for the family.

    As a minister, I wanted to share with you these words that I often share at funerals and find comforting personally. They are adapted from Sister Corita Kent’s epitaph. They feel true today as I think about your family and those of us who will miss our friend and colleague.

    “He who we have loved and lost is no longer with us.
    He is now whereever we are.”

    May his memory be forever a blessing.

    Rev. Debra W. Haffner

  10. Merle, SSSS conferences won’t be the same without you! I will miss your fabulous sense of humor and smile! Send loads of love and support to MaryBeth and the rest of your family. Thanks for touching my life!

    Carey Roth Bayer

  11. Merle photographed our wedding in 2005. I remember quite well that when we first met him to discuss hiring him, he said something to the effect of ‘ I’m interviewing you to see if we are a good match, because this is an important time for you.’ At the time I found it a bit odd. After reading a bit of this blog and his obituary, it is clear that he lived life with an uncommon sense of purpose, and now I understand.

    Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

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