Marion T. MerrillMarch 13,2013
Marion T. Merrill
JOHN DAY, Ore. — Marion Theodore “Ted” Merrill, 89, died Feb. 26, 2013, in John Day, from a stroke a few days prior, less than three weeks shy of his 90th birthday. A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 17 — his birthday — at the John Day Elks Lodge, 140 NE Dayton St.
Dr. Merrill was born March 17, 1923, in Columbia, Mo., to Clifford Merrill and Esther Jacoby Merrill. He was an avid fisherman, and during summers of his youth, he and his brother, Bill, not only fished, but were also salmon fishing guides on the Salmon River in Idaho.
He attended the University of Idaho as a premedical student. In 1943, he joined the U.S. Navy, which was training doctors in anticipation of military needs. He pursued his medical education at Columbia University in New York, continuing after his naval discharge in 1946. While there, he met and married nursing student Elizabeth Louise “Betsy” Good. In 1948, he graduated from Columbia and, after two years of internship and residency, began his medical practice in Gilroy, Calif. During this time, he spent two and a half years in Augsburg, Germany, with the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
In 1958, he moved his family and medical practice to John Day, where he spent the majority of his medical career, as well as his retirement. In 1969, he took a break to teach at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt. He returned to medicine three years later, working in the emergency room at Central Vermont Hospital for three years before returning to Oregon. His wife died in 1983, and in 1985, he married Janis Green in Vancouver, Wash.
He considered himself an ecologist and helped organize one of the first Earth Day events in Plainfield, Vt. He joined a “bucket brigade” demonstration against water diversion in Oregon’s Klamath Basin and gave slideshow presentations throughout Oregon, educating people about the dangers of plutonium. In 1966, he volunteered for a two-month stay in Vietnam where he treated people, and assisted and trained doctors under a U.S. Agency for International Development program.
After his retirement, he began writing with a passion, and started his own publishing company, Homeostasis Press. He wrote one book on his own, “I Only Dress the Wounds,” and co-authored another, “River Runts,” with his brother, Bill. Two others, “Earth as an Eco-Jar” and “Heartwood,” were in progress at his death and will be published posthumously. He was a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Writers Guild of Eastern Oregon.
Survivors include his wife, Janis; her daughter, Janel Parker, of John Day; sons David, of Portland, Richard, of Brooksville, Maine, and Bob, of South Pomfret, Vt.; daughters Kathleen Merrill and Valerie Stein, both of Edmonds, Wash.; grandchildren Trevor, Sorcha, Liberty, Noah, Zacharia, Joshua and Kendra; and great-granddaughter Elizabeth. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” (Good) Merrill; and brother, Bill Merrill. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made through Sterling Bank of John Day, for installation of a memorial in John Day.
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