Services for Merle Raymond Claunch were held Friday at First Baptist Church Tupelo with Rev. Matt Powell officiating. Graveside services with military honors followed in Lee Memorial Park. Claunch, 87, died Monday, Oct, 28, 2019 at AvonLea Assisted Living in Tupelo. A native of Guntown, he was born March 21, 1932 to Raymond Strickland and Ruth Ella Moore Claunch. He was a graduate of both Cedar Hill High School and Itawamba Junior College and attended Mississippi State University. He answered the call to arms and proudly served his nation in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. In his younger He was active in Civitan Club where he served as past president and enjoyed a fulfilling 60-year career with Tupelo Hardware Store which was one of the most rewarding achievements of his life. He was a huge supporter of Tupelo High School football and basketball. He was also a huge supporter and fan of Mississippi State University sports. He was a longtime and faithful member of First Baptist Church of upelo. He will be missed by all who knew him. He leaves his daughter, Kimberly Claunch Nicholson (Robert A. "Tony") of Millbrook, Ala.; two granddaughters, Kristen Nicholson Killcreas (Toby) of Millbrook and Brooke Elizabeth Nicholson of Los Angeles, Calif.; great-granddaughter, Emma Killcreas; and two great-grandsons, Asa and Aaron Killcreas who, after two generations of girls, were welcomed additions to the family. He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife of 52 years, Marguerite Bailey Claunch. Pallbearers were Boyce Shelton, James Hall, Terry Simmons, Jerry Moore, Bobby Simmons and George Booth, III. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 4830 McWillie Cir., Jackson, MS 39206. Sympathy may be expressed at www.peguesfuneralhome.com.

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