Merrill Eugene Fife passed away peacefully at the age of 83 at Covington assisted living facility. He was surrounded by his loving family and devoted wife, Maxine.
Merrill was born to Robert Lee Fife and Zenobia Helena Soelberg Fife on March 10, 1939, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He attended Bonneville High School where he excelled in basketball, football, baseball and track and field. He was Junior class president, participated in FFA and played the saxophone in the band.
He married Maxine Christensen on June 8, 1956. They were sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple. Merrill and Maxine began their life together in Ammon Idaho, then moved to Provo, Utah so Merrill could work and study Physics at Brigham Young University. While at BYU, he worked on the tetrahedral diamond press.
He graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. He moved his family to Southern California where he began his career at Aerojet General where he designed sonar systems for US and NATO military applications. He made many contributions to the field of Acoustical Engineering with an emphasis on sonar array design, registering several patents. He retired from Bendix/Allied/Signal/L3 Corporation as Chief Scientist.
Throughout his life, Merrill was active in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he served in various positions including branch president and bishop. With his wife, he served in Boy Scouts of America for many years.
Merrill enjoyed many hobbies. His love for sports continued after high school, and he enjoyed pitching for work and church softball teams for many years. He was very good at it, and his teams usually won. He leveraged his engineering skills to win many Pinewood Derbies with his sons and grandsons.
Merrill loved the outdoors and spent many weeks fishing, hiking, and camping with his family. He was an accomplished juggler, performing for family, friends, and occasionally audiences. He enjoyed building and flying radio-controlled airplanes with his children, photography and photo developing, woodworking (everything from kitchen cabinets to musical instruments), shooting, archery, and astronomy. Merrill was a master storyteller and many of his children believed he was a secret agent until about middle school. Some of his great grandchildren still do.
Merrill is survived by his wife Maxine Christensen Fife, and his six children, Merrill Lee (and Bridgette) Fife, Julie Ann (and Wayne) Parker, Sharla Marie Fife, Sherry Lynn (and Paul) McClatchy, David Reed (and April) Fife, and Kathlene (and Christopher) Jackson and his 28 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Ronald (and Faye) Fife.
He has been reunited with his grandson, Jacob Daniel McClatchy, and great-grandchildren, Payton Lynn Thomas, Pearl Angel Hope Edgar, Harmony Halia Faith Edgar, and his son-in-law, David Ralph Mitchell, who preceded him. He is also preceded by his mother Zenobia, his father Robert Lee, his sister Roine Thorpe, and his brothers, Leland, Reed, Lavon, Marlyn, Lynn and Alan.
Services will be held at the church at 965 W. 2000 N. Orem, Utah.
Viewing: Friday, May 6 from 6:30-8:00 pm.
Viewing: Saturday, May 7 from 1:00-2:00 pm.
Funeral: Saturday, May 7 at 2:00 pm.
Interment at East Lawn Memorial Hills, 4800 N 650 E St, Provo, Utah.
To leave condolences for Merrill, visit www.legacyfunerals,com
To view the service remotely, visit Legacy Funerals & Cremations Facebook page.
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