Dr. Merlyn Abel Bissell, a longtime Attica physician, died Friday in his home. He was 91.
He was born in Bergen, the son of James E. and Bertha Johnson Bissell. His early years were spent on the family farm in Bergen with his two brothers.
He attended school in Bergen and graduated as valedictorian from Bergen High School in 1931. He then attended the University of Rochester, graduating in 1935. He received his medical degree in 1939 from Syracuse University Medical School.
Dr. Bissell interned at Genesee Hospital in Rochester before starting his private medical practice in Attica in 1940. His civilian practice was interrupted by entrance into the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1942. He served 30 months as a medical officer, attaining the rank of captain. His tours of duty included the North African Campaign and several months on the beaches at Anzio, Italy. He returned to his civilian practice in 1945 in Attica, where he practiced in his home office until his retirement in 1997.
During his long career as a local physician, he served briefly as Wyoming County health officer and for many years as Wyoming County coroner. He served for more than 25 years as school doctor for Attica Central School and was instrumental in the site selection and construction of the current combined Attica High School and Middle School. He also served for many years as part-time physician for Attica Correctional Facility. He was a member of the medical staff at both Genesee Memorial Hospital and St. Jerome Hospital, Batavia.
Dr. Bissell may best be remembered for having the first self-built snowmobile in Attica, which he used for many years to make winter house calls. His many lifelong avocations included beekeeping, farming, trail riding, locksmithing, safe collecting, clock collecting and restoring and operating printing presses and sawmills. He was a master machinist and designed and built his own hydraulic ram for water supply on his farm in Bennington.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his first wife, Ellen Winslow Bissell; his second wife, Delores Law Bissell; and his brothers, James, John and Olin.
Dr. Bissell is survived by four sons, Dr. David D. of Norman, Okla., Merlyn of Attica, Paul Lee of Le Roy and Richard Lee of Mustang, Okla.; a daughter, Mary F. of Bergen; seven grandchildren; a great-grandson; and his longtime companion and caretaker, Alice Taggart of Attica.
A private service will be scheduled. Burial will be in Mount Rest Cemetery, Bergen.