John Jay Merrill

John Jay Merrill

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Services are PRIVATE but will be live streamed for those wanting to watch at

John Jay Merrill 1933 to 2020

On July 6, 2020, our dear old dad (D.O.D.) passed away due to age-related illnesses. He has had an extraordinary life. Born on January 24, 1933, to Jay and Kathryn Merrill, he was raised mostly in Twin Falls, Idaho, where he met his sweetheart, Ruth. After marrying her in the Idaho Falls Temple, on May 14, 1953, they moved to California to attend CalTech University. He received his doctorate in Physics and was a well-loved Professor at both Utah State and Brigham Young universities. His final years were spent living in Lindon at the Spring Gardens Assisted Living Center where he received great care and attention. We send a big hug and Thank You to all at Spring Gardens who cared for and were friends to our Dad.

John and Ruth had 8 children—Pamela (Dennis) Peterson, Linda (Ted) Hansen, Joseph (Bonnie) Merrill, Susan (Wes) Wood, Douglas (Judy) Merrill, Elizabeth (Wayne) Brown, Marie (Joseph) Winger, and Ann (Darrell) Jackson. Each has been loved and well-cared for by their parents, and all have gone to Dad for advice. A hug made each daughter cry her problems away, and he set a wonderful example for his sons as to how they should treat and care for their wives.

John has been a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as Bishop for both USU and BYU Wards as well as his Orem 7th home Ward. He also served in the Presidency of a BYU Stake and served in the Illinois Chicago South Mission with Ruth.

D.O.D. loved learning and would often be found reading a book. He also enjoyed the finer arts and taught his children to appreciate orchestra, dance, and theater. He was a concert violinist and an accomplished singer and could oftentimes be heard singing above the rest of a congregation. He sacrificed much so his children could participate in lessons and desired opportunities. His children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will miss him so very much. Each felt loved and special.

John was known for his big smile and jolly laugh. He had a unique whistle that his children would easily recognize. (Meadowlark imitation.) We always knew if Dad was near just by hearing that whistle whether it was in a nearby room or walking across campus. He loved the beauty of nature and loved to hike. He often took a daily walk, many times inviting individual children to join him.

John is preceded in death by his sweetheart Ruth (2009), his parents, sister Kathryn Kirkman, and his inlaws Joseph and Oles Bingham. We rejoice in their reunion! John is survived by his sister Mary Ann Oldham, and a posterity of 8 children and spouses, 36 grandchildren, 35 great- grandchildren.

To celebrate his life, the family will participate in a funeral on Saturday, July 11, 2020, at 11am. Due to the current health crisis and restrictions, services are private, however, services will be available online to view and watch. Interment will be in the Orem Cemetery and private.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a donation to one of several charities dear to John’s heart: MS (, Cancer (, or the American Heart Association. If you would be willing to share your memories and pictures of John, the family would be grateful. Leave on John's obituary at
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, July 11th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Saturday, July 11th, 2020 11:00am
    Address Not Available
    Services are PRIVATE but will be live streamed for those wanting to watch at


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Darrell Jensen

Posted at 04:17pm
We loved Bishop Merrill,
John always lifted our spirits with his happy smile attitude and support. His children and their families are a tribute to both John and Ruth and their example of faith, truth and love. We will long remember the Merrill family.

Darrell & Norma Jensen

Clark and Nora Bishop

Posted at 09:24pm
Dear Merrill Family,

We are deeply saddened to hear of John’s passing. We always respected and admired him, his character, good humor and warm smile. He lived great and he will be greatly missed. Please accept our condolences.


Clark and Nora Bishop

David N Peterson

Posted at 06:29pm
I appreciated the pictures so much to review this good man and his family that I have loved for so many years. I have felt it a great privilege to have had some small part in each of your lives over those years and I am so happy for John and this graduation. I am sorry that I cannot be there with you in person but I'll be tuning in on video. I'll be enjoying all of your parts in this service and I'll be praying for your efforts in his behalf. So much happiness in their Heavenly Home right now. Makes me smile.

LeeAnn Glade

Posted at 12:33am
I have fond memories of Professor Merrill as my science teacher at BYU. Please accept my condolences and sympathy.

Mary Ann Merrill Oldham`

Posted at 05:04pm
John was a super violinist as concert master of the Twin falls High School orchestra for who knows how long. However I believe he got his famous violln when our dad purchased it from a violin collector. It had a big tone needed for him as concert master. I was in the seventh grade and I used his violin for my orchestra so I could leave my collector violin at home.

I believe I remember him singing solo with our mom accompanying "Old Man River"

He practiced that whistle right from the start. Our house was in the middle of the block and Ruth was across the street on the
corner. He would walk to the corner and whistle and then Ruth would come running out to walk the 3 blocks to schooll together. That school is gone I believe and was across the street from the City Park in case you go looking for it.

He somewhat bragged ABOUT sitting behind Ruth in class and undoing the buttons that went down the back of her blouse unbeknownst to her.
He did say he didn't have to do as much homework as others as he was studying while the rest of the kids were throwing spit wads.
He took a photography class and did some nice pictures one of our mom and one of me as a young girl in my nightgown saying my prayers by my bed (posed of course--but Mom's was really insightful.)

He was a good brother to me. My earliest memory is of him holding a mouse by the tail so I could see it through the screen door. I think I liked that.
He and my sister both were straight A students and valedictorians. I think it is because of them I made the top 10 percent. John said it was because I wouldn't play the ball game or I could be one too. I don't think,so, but I'm sure his reputation helped me along.
As a university teacher, he was not happy that the University concentrated on research over trying to make sure students succeed. I have children that used his physics text and felt it was very helpful (can't remember which one,maybe it was Johnny Kirkman our sister's boy.
To John:
I regret I didn't call you last week to pick your brain a little more. But I am so happy for you now as you are with your sweetheart and our parents and Grandpa who lived many years with us and many others who have gone on. I am excited for your new mission and now especially with Ruth by your side.

Linda Merrill Hansen Posted at 08:14pm

Thank you Aunt Molly. We love you.

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