O’Rourke & O’Rourke
Inc. Funeral Home

25 River Street
Salamanca, NY 14779
phone: (716) 945-4760
fax: (716) 945-4222

Merle S. Watt Sr.

Merle S. Watt, Sr., 87 of Steamburg, NY, died early Saturday morning, July 13, 2019, at Bradford Regional Hospital following a long illness.

Merle, an enrolled Seneca and member of the Turtle Clan, was born on September 21, 1931 to Clarence and Nettie Huff Watt, and resided in the Town of Coldspring on the Seneca Allegany Territory.

He attended Salamanca Central School and then served in the Army as a Paratrooper.

Upon completion of his military duty, he later received training in carpentry and masonry, joining the unions as he worked in both areas. A self-starter, Merle eventually began his own masonry business, which he operated for over twenty years with several employees. He continued his business intuitiveness by becoming a successful entrepreneur in retail, commercial construction, and real estate activities. He thoroughly enjoyed pursuing business opportunities, which provided a positive impact throughout the Allegany Territory and the City of Salamanca. Merle cared very much about his community and served as a Tribal Councilor for the Seneca Nation of Indians.

Merle was also a philanthropist who provided the financial foundation for the building of the Faithkeepers School that still exists today in helping to keep the Seneca culture alive. He initiated an active fundraising campaign seeking out other businesspeople and anyone he could to contribute to this effort. He was helpful to many people and always enjoyed a good story. Merle also enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping, activities that his father also did, which Merle passed on to his sons and community.

Surviving are: two daughters, Melinda (Kevin) Palmer, Jimersontown, NY and Sydney Watt, Randolph, NY; a son, Merle “Bebe” Watt Jr., Jimerstontown, NY; 12 grandchildren; two sisters, Rovena Abrams, Jimersontown, NY and Carolyn (Randy) Brant, Jimersontown, NY; a brother, Melbourne “Bud” Watt, Steamburg, NY; several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by a son, Joel Whittaker, two sisters, Ruth Watt Piscitelli, Maribel Printup, and two brothers, Harold Watt, and Elwin “Sparky” Watt.

Friends may call at the O’Rourke & O’Rourke Inc. Funeral Home, 25 River Street, Salamanca, NY on Monday, July 15, 2019 from 2-4pm and 6-8 pm.

Funeral services will be held in the funeral home on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at 10 a.m.

Burial will be at Hillside Haven, Cemetery, Steamburg, NY.

E-condolences can be sent to orourke.orourkefh@gmail.com or posted to facebook.com/onofh