Merrill B. Wish

Merrill B. Wish, CLU, of Charleston, SC, departed on Wednesday, February 14, 2024.

He was born on February 17, 1929, in Huntington, Long Island, NY, the son of the late Major Merrill D. Wish and the late Eunice C. Wish.
Merrill attended and graduated from Bohemia Grammar School, Sayville High School and Syracuse University. He participated in cross country, football, basketball, baseball and track. He was a member of the 1947 basketball team that won the Long Island Championship that year.
He entered the United States Air Force in December of 1951, and graduated with class 52. He was a 2nd Lt. and outstanding graduate. He was awarded the Daughters of American Revolution award and was given a regular commission.
Merrill flew as a jet fighter pilot in Korea, flying F-86-Sabre Jets and F-84 Fighter Bombers. He was assigned to the 444th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in Charleston, and broke the sound barrier on several occasions.
Merrill married Grace O’Neil Bowling on March 26, 1955. He joined Prudential Insurance Company in 1955 as an insurance and financial planner. Merrill was the longest active agent with Prudential, with 60 years of service to his clients. He earned his CLU designation in 1965, became a life member of the Million Dollar Round Table in 1985, and earned numerous awards and trips for outstanding sales and service. He retired in 2015, but continued to service his clients until his death.
Merrill was an active member of Bethel United Methodist Church. He was a member of the Charleston Rotary Club with perfect attendance for 40 years.
Merrill refereed high school and college basketball for 25 years and was inducted to the South Carolina Basketball Officials Hall of Fame in 1990. He established the Bowling-Wish College Scholarship Fund in 1999.
Merrill is survived by his wife of 69 years, Grace Bowling Wish; daughter, Camille Bowling Wish, both of Charleston, SC; a brother, Lee C. Wish (Pat) of Port St. Lucie, FL; a sister, Regina E. Smyth of Harrells, NC; and several nieces and nephews.
The family received friends on Monday, February 19, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., at Bethel United Methodist Church, 57 Pitt Street, Charleston, SC 29401. The funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM at the church. Burial followed at Magnolia Cemetery, 70 Cunnington Avenue, Charleston, SC 29405.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Bowling-Wish College Scholarship Fund, 57 Pitt Street, Charleston, SC 29401 or a charity of your choice.
Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at
Arrangements have been entrusted to McAlister-Smith Funeral Home, 2501 Bees Ferry Road, Charleston, SC 29414, (843) 722-8371.

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