AUBURN — Merle “Greg” Libby Jr., 87, of North Turner, died of natural causes on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 9:02 a.m., with his loving family by his side at the Androscoggin Hospice House.

Merle attended Leavitt Institute, where he acquired the nickname “Greg” when he played a character by that name in a school play. As a young man, he worked alongside his father in the woods and later at the John Teague Saw Mill.

During World War II, Greg answered his country’s call-to-duty and was appointed sergeant in the Army Signal Corps, serving as teletype specialist in Gen. Mark Clark’s headquarters.

At war’s end, Greg returned to civilian life in North Turner and married his high school sweetheart, Betty Hannon. They raised their family in the home he built from trees he had cut and milled himself, and both he and Betty lived there the rest of their lives.

Greg worked for 26 years at the International Paper Otis Mill in Livermore. He was a chemist in the mill’s lab and the procedure he devised for determining the ratio of softwood to hardwood in paper pulp became known throughout the paper industry as “The Libby Method.”

He retired from IP in 1976, and after Betty passed away in 2002, Greg enjoyed frequent family visits and gatherings, dining out with his siblings and visiting his daughter, Jane, in sunny Virginia and his son, David, in New York City, where he became an experienced Broadway musical enthusiast.

Greg loved the outdoors, and he and his son, Jeff, shared a passion for hunting and fishing. His lifelong philosophy of self-sufficiency kept him active and enjoying life into his old age. He was a woodsman and from his youth until his final years, he enjoyed the work of sawing, splitting and burning wood.

In most recent years, his daughter, Wendy, lived next door to him and her companionship and assistance with his daily living, along with support from other family members living close by, was a blessing to him and to his family.

He is survived by his children, Jane Motley, Wendy White and David Libby; as well as 11 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

He was predeceased by his father, Merle Libby Sr.; mother, Marion Libby; wife, Betty Libby; son, Jeffrey Libby; sister, Barbara Bryant; and brother, Roger Libby.

Words of condolence and tribute may be shared with Greg’s family and friends on his tribute wall at www.wilesrc.com.

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