John R. Merrill

John R. "Jack" Merrill, age 72, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. He was born on July 5, 1944, the son of Thomas and Emily (Schneider) Merrill. Jack graduated from Monona Grove High School in 1962, where he played basketball, football and track. He attended UW-Madison and studied Pre-Pharmacy and played football as a freshman, which hooked him as a life-long fan. Jack left college in 1963 to proudly join the U.S. Marine Corps as a 0811. He eventually went back to school, but this time to Wisconsin School of Electronics and graduated with an Associate's Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology in April, 1967. Jack married Shirley Walsvik on Oct. 21, 1967. He worked for Wisconsin Telephone (presently AT&T) in Milwaukee as an Outside Plant Engineer. This same job moved him back to Madison in 1979. When Jack retired from his career in 1999, he retired with 32 years and seven months of experience. He was only 55! He dedicated his life to his family, their wellness, and support of extended family and friends. For the past 49 years, he personally cared for his wife, Shirley, who has MS while continuing to enjoy his hobbies of hunting at the family cottage in Richland County, re-loading ammo in his basement, attending Good Shepard Lutheran Church, cheering on the Badgers, Packers, Brewers, Monona Grove and his grandchildren's sports teams. He also enjoyed traveling with Shirley to visit their children and grandchildren. Jack will be remembered as a fearless leader, coach, husband, dad, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, friend and "owner". Jack is survived by his wife of 49 years, Shirley; mother, Emily; three children, Robert (Nicole) Merrill, Dirk Merrill and Kristi (fiance' Quinn) Merrill-Swift; seven grandchildren, Tanner Merrill, Gabbie Merrill, Tucker Merrill, Grant Terrio, Keegan Terrio, Pierce Merrill and Paige Merrill; and many grand dogs. He was preceded in death by his father. A memorial gathering will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 5203 Monona Dr., Madison, at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday. Memorials in Jack's name may be donated "in pints" to the American Red Cross. To quote our dad in a recent letter: "I'm heading to the happy hunting ground. Remember I love you, be good people, live a good life. Xoxoxo Dad JRM".

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