|“When Brother Merrill walked into a room it was just as if Jesus had come in person!” So said many whom were members of the several congregations which he served as pastor.
Born to Methodist parsonage parents, Rev. and Mrs. Walter Merrill, in Jamison, Nebraska, on June 22, 1914, he attended public schools and Nebraska Wesleyan University. Being asked to fill the pulpit once in Gurley, Nebraska, where he was teacher and principal of a small school, began his call to the ministry. He subsequently enrolled in Perkins School of Theology at SMU and achieved his Master of Divinity degree. His first appointment was as Associate Pastor in First Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, Texas. There he met and married the lovely young Director of Christian Education, Miss Evelyn Gay. Their union produced a son, Dr. Lynn Walter Merrill, and they served together in ministry for the next fifty-five years.
On January 17, 1947, the Merrills were appointed to the Cotton Valley Church in the Louisiana Conference, and subsequently served congregations in New Orleans, Mansfield, Minden, Lake Charles, and Ruston in addition to holding the position of District Superintendent of the Lafayette District.
Dr. Merrill’s ministry reached beyond the local church and included leadership on ten Conference Boards and agencies as well as membership on the delegation to Jurisdictional and General Conferences and the World Methodist Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1981. He served internationally with a five-week pulpit exchange in Abingdon, England and mission work in Alaska, Brazil, and Peru.
In 1977 Dr. Merrill was elected to the Centenary College Board of Trustees. He was a faithful participant in Board meetings and a loyal and creative committee member. He carried a Centenary Doctor of Divinity Degree with dignity and honor, and continued as a Life Member of the Board following his retirement in 1984. His life and service prompt the Biblical observation: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
We extend to his wife, Mrs. Evelyn Merrill, and to his son, Dr. Lynn Merrill, our deepest sympathy and regret in his passing from among us. We offer to God our sincere gratitude for his long and effective ministry and what his life and service have meant to the Louisiana Conference and the Kingdom of God.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 2000, p. 256 By Douglas L. McGuire|