Paul Dean Merril, Jr. lost his battle with lung disease on February 26, 2020. He passed peacefully surrounded by his wife and family.
Paul was born in Gallup and raised in the mountains of Ramah, New Mexico. He loved the high desert—the red rocks and cedar trees—landscapes of his youth. Though he returned home to Ramah at other times in his adult life, he always cherished his Ramah heritage.
Paul was born to Daisy Bernice Lambson and Paul Dean Merrill, Sr. on November 6, 1942, their first and only child together. His parents divorced when he was two, and both remarried, giving him a large blended family of siblings, Sue Gray, Jeanette Hauth, Judy Slade, Sonya Heiserman and Scott Merrill. He was raised in a multi-generational home with his grandparents. His grandfather Eugene Lambson remained a primary influence throughout his life.
Paul’s father, Paul Sr., encouraged him to attend New Mexico Military Institute for high school. After graduating from NMMI, he attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He served a mission for the LDS church in New York, where he developed a love for New York City. Paul received a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Accountancy at BYU. His first job was in Manhattan. Paul commuted to the city by train from New Jersey each morning, after teaching early-morning seminary to LDS teens. Paul was a CPA. Later, he worked as a CEO and CFO of several companies. He worked in the public sector at various companies, as well as for organizations, schools and non-profits that served Native American populations.
After his mission, Paul met Jannet Rae Bridenstine at Brigham Young University, and instantly fell for her. In fact, after four weeks Paul announced to Jannet that he knew she was going to be his bride. They remained the love of each other’s lives for 55 years, having built a loving, strong relationship.
Paul and Jannet raised five kids across many states and employment opportunities: Matthew Paul Merrill (of Salt Lake City), Adam Paul Merrill (of Chicago—married to Cindy Reynolds Merrill), Kelly Merrill Austin (of Cincinnati—married to Matt Austin), Nathan Paul Merrill (of Queen Creek, AZ—married to Heather Shore Merrill), and Dana Merrill DeLuca (currently of South Korea—married to Marc DeLuca). Paul and Jannet kept revisiting their roots, most recently New Mexico, where Paul managed his father’s 500-acre ranch, and finally to Utah, the home of their hearts.
Paul served faithfully in the LDS church in many capacities. He was a deeply spiritual man, always looking to serve God and serve others. Paul loved scouting and earned the Silver Beaver Award for his 25 years of service as a Scoutmaster in LDS chapters of the BSA. He influenced countless youth through serving in the Young Men’s program for the LDS church and through other mentoring programs. He also served as a mentor in his jobs, often counseling and coaching business colleagues.
Paul had a great love for learning and encouraged his children to pursue education and training, as well as ways to contribute in their communities. He was always looking to improve himself through reading and training. Paul’s legacy is a family who values learning and education, and who are each committed to living lives of faith and service. His presence will be missed, but his influence will be deeply felt for generations.
In lieu of flowers, the Merrill family would appreciate donations made toward funeral costs to the Paul Merrill Memorial Fund:
A celebration of Paul’s life will be held on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at the Payson Highline Ward building, 586 W 1750 South, Payson, Utah 84651. Friends and family may visit on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 between 7 and 9 p.m. at Legacy Funerals, 3595 N. Main Street, Spanish Fork, Utah 84660. Interment will be at the Provo City Cemetery.
To express condolences, please visit LegacyFunerals.com.