Merle Ellen Smith was born on November 23, 1955. She is the 4th of 5 children born to George D. and Emma L. Smith. She attended Winston Elementary School, Woodbourne Jr. High (briefly), Pimlico Jr. High and Western High School. She graduated Western on June 13, 1973. She went on to attend and graduate Morgan State University on May 21, 1978 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and to attend and graduate the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign on May 20, 1979 with a Master’s Degree in Social Work.

Merle began working for the State of Maryland at the Baltimore City Department of Social Services on June 18,1979. She provided Family Intervention Services in Foster Care, Child Protective Services (CPS), Services to Families with Children (SFC), Adult Services, Day Care, and Helping Families Stay Together (HFST). From March, 2001 until her retirement on December 1, 2012, Merle provided Confidential Intermediary (CI) Services to adult adoptees seeking to reconnect with their birth parents and to birth parents seeking to reconnect with those they relinquished. Merle continues to provide CI services in her retirement.

Merle is a lifelong member of Morning Star Baptist Church of Christ which is located at 1063 W. Fayette Street in Baltimore, MD and where Rev. Clarence Fowler is the Minister.