Herbert Bartlett Merser Jr.
Herbert Bartlett Merser Jr. passed away quietly at his home in Banner Elk, NC.
He was a long-time resident of Avery County, first at Grandfather Golf and Country Club from 1979 to 2005, and then at Elk River Club from 2005 to 2013. From 1969 through 1976, Merser was the president, founder, developer, builder and operator of Mullet Bay Beach Hotel on St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, for many years the largest and most successful complete resort hotel in the Caribbean. He originated the pooled rentals concept for condominiums: Mullet Bay was the first to file its condominium units with the SEC and first to sell successfully using a prospectus ($55 million condominium sales, 1970 – 1975). Investors included Henry Ford II, Bankers Trust Company of New York, Bankers Life of Nebraska and Salomon Brothers.
He continued, until May 1978, as chairman of Island Gem Enterprises, Ltd. N.V., owner of Mullet Bay and the smaller Caravanseria Hotel on the same island. During 1977, he operated the Rio Mar Resort in Puerto Rico under a consulting contract with Chase Manhattan Bank's Housing Investment Corporation. He served as consultant to Bankers Trust Company of New York on several real estate projects including its Wintergreen Resort in Virginia from 1976 through 1984 (member Executive Committee). Other consulting clients for real estate oriented and investment assignments included: Ogem N.V., a large Netherlands conglomerate; Gulfstream Land & Development Corp., Plantation, Florida; New England Land Company, Greenwich, CO.; Henry Ford II; and Lee Trevino.
From 1966 through 1969, he was the founder, vice president and general manager of Ford Motor Credit Corporation's commercial and industrial financing operation, and subsequently for two years, a retained consultant to both the Ford Motor Credit Corporation and the Ford Motor Company. Merser's previous experience included 12 years with General Electric Credit Corporation in varied management positions; Dun and Bradstreet; Multicon, a Columbus, Ohio, based national apartment developer; and the First National Bank of Boston. He received his BA in Economics from Harvard College in 1950.
He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Deirdre; three daughters, Cheryl Merser of Sag Harbor, N.Y., Christine Merser of Barnstable, Mass., and Leslie Merser Benway, Mattituck, N.Y.; two sisters, Elizabeth Merser Bierhorst, South Hampton, N.Y., and Susan Merser Burgess, Tiguard, Ore.; and one brother, F. Gerald Merser, Damariscotta, Maine, and Vero Beach, Fla.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
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