After a full life of more than 95 years, Donald Gordon Merritt passed away peacefully surrounded in love by his children, reunited with his wife, Joann Merritt, on October 5, 2021. He was born to Jack and Hattie Merritt on March 28, 1926 in Snyder, TX. In his youth, Don, along with his father, mother, and three younger siblings moved to Midland, TX where Don lived and worked on the Slim O’Neal dairy farm. Before graduating from high school, Don joined the US Navy, serving in World War II on the USS Texas from 1944 – 1946.
Upon his return, he married the love of his life, Joann (Williams) Merritt on February 28, 1947 and was devoted to her nearly 70 years before Joann’s passing in 2016. The couple raised four children: Wayne, John, Virginia, and Gary, while Don worked for Phillips Petroleum Company about 40 years. Don lovingly handcrafted unique toys and backyard entertainment, still enjoyed by great grandchildren.
Upon his retirement, he and Joann became avid bird and butterfly watchers, as well as experts on the Texas Horned Lizard, and all manner of flora and fauna. The couple were active within the Midland Naturalists group and were longtime members of the Midland Sibley Center. Don and Joann spent countless hours exploring the Midland countryside, taking thousands upon thousands of pictures, and sharing their passion for nature with both the young and the old.
Don is survived by his four children and their spouses, as well as nine grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Don will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He was the pillar of his family, exuding a quiet, confident manner. He was hard-working, kind and never met a stranger.
The family (& Don) would like to give a special thank you to the Midland Memorial Hospital nurse, Victoria, who cared for Don during his final days. Her care and thoughtfulness were a comfort to Don and his family.
A memorial is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 9, 2021 at Merritt Pavilion in the I-20 Wildlife Preserve in Midland, TX. Dress is bird-watcher chic (aka casual). For those who prefer to be seated, please bring a chair.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the I-20 Wildlife Preserve or your favorite charity.
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Midland. Online condolences can be made at www.npwelch.com.