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Clifton L. “Cliff” Merritt

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Services for Clifton L. “Cliff” Merritt, 54, of Vidalia who died Monday, July 23rd at his home, will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at the First Baptist Church of Vidalia with Rev. Bill McCullin officiating.

Visitation will be from noon until 2 p.m. at the church and for one hour immediately following the service.  Services are under the direction of Young’s Funeral Home of Vidalia. 

Cliff was born Nov. 20, 1957 in Natchez, Mississippi, the son of Dulcie Ruth Geter Merritt and the late Delcy Ray Merritt. He was preceded in death by an infant son, his father, brother-in-law Wardy Daniels and cousin Stanley Bland Jr.

Survivors include his wife Debra, daughter Katie and fiancée Drew Paulovich, both of Lafayette, Colorado, and daughter Jessie of Starkville, Mississippi; his mother and one brother, Buddy Merritt of Sterlington, La.; sisters and spouses Gloria and Stanley Bland of Natchez, Dorothy and Millard Brown of Tylertown, Mississippi, Dianna and Rick Walker of Junction City, Arkansas, Janice and Donnie Turnage of Vidalia; and sister Elaine Daniels, also of Vidalia. He is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews, and their families.  

He is also survived by his loving and devoted Delta Bank family in Vidalia, Ferriday, Tallulah and Lake Providence.

Cliff received his bachelor of science in forestry from Louisiana Tech University in 1980 followed by his Master’s of Business Administration in Finance in 1981. He began his banking career at Louisiana National Bank in Baton Rouge in 1981 in the management trainee program. He was named President of Premier Bank in Ruston in 1996 and was named Outstanding Young Business Man of Lincoln Parish. Cliff became President and CEO of Delta Bank, (formerly Louisiana Central Bank), in Vidalia, Louisiana in 1998.

He has served as past president of the Natchez Chamber of Commerce and the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce, and chairman of United Way. He was named Business Man of the Year for the Vidalia Chamber and was a member of the Ferriday Rotary Club and Lions Club of Vidalia. He served on the  board of the Delta Music Museum. He also served on the  Louisiana Bankers Association Bankers Benefits of LA/LA Bankers Service Corp. as Chairman, and was a Government Relations Council Member and Agricultural Committee Member. He was a Rural Ag America Committee Member of the Independent Community Bankers Association and board member of the Financial Institution Service Corporation (FISC) and an Inaugural Member of the FISC Risk Management Committee. Cliff also served on the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association Board and the College of Administration and Business Advisory Board at Louisiana Tech.

He has been honored for the past three years with the Cliff Merritt Golf Tournament to raise funds for cancer awareness, raising more than $50,000 to aide in cancer research. Our sincere thanks to the tournament organizers and dear friends Fred and Sandy Middleton, Dr. Robbie Savant, Howard Jones, Dr. Bill Hurt, and Ouida Dobson.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Internal Medicine of Natchez, especially Cliff’s doctor and friend, Ed Daly and his nurse Judy; Dr. Jack Rodriguez and staff, Dr. Rod Givens and staff, and Camillia Hospice, Reeves Drug Store and Colvins Pharmacy. Our special thanks to the employees of Delta Bank, the Board of Directors, and Chairman Brian Campbell for their support and love.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the First Baptist Church of Vidalia Sanctuary Building Fund at 100 N. Hickory St. Vidalia, Louisiana 71373 or The Cliff Merritt Scholarship Fund at Delta Bank, P.O. Box 930, Vidalia Louisiana 71373.

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