Keith Wayne Merrill

July 16, 2021

Keith Wayne Merrill

Keith Wayne Merrill received his ultimate healing from the Lord when he left his earthly body at 7 p.m. Friday, July 16, 2021, at IU Frankfort Hospital. He was 76.

Keith was born August 3, 1944, to the late Lawrence and Allegra Merrill, and was raised on the family farm near Thorntown. He was one of 11 children: Leon, Barbara, Pat, Betty, Donald, Ronnie, Howard, Mary, James and Joyce. Of his siblings, he is survived by his brother Ronnie and sister Joyce.

Keith attended Thorntown High School, but quit to join the Navy, when he was 17. He received his GED in the service, where he reached the rank of Seaman (E-3). He served honorably in the Vietnam War, including aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard. He was discharged from the Navy in 1966, shortly after his daughter Kathleen was born.

In the Navy, Keith learned the plumbing and pipefitting trade, which he continued throughout his life. He first worked at Pioneer Flintkote in California. Then he installed the plumbing in airplanes for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, in the Douglas Aircraft Division, in Long Beach, California.

Keith loved all animals, and owned a pet and fish store, Merrill’s Tropicals, in California, before bringing his family back to Indiana in 1981. After that move, he and the love of his life, Jackie Merrill, worked in wildlife rehabilitation, and there were always wild animals – snakes, foxes, owls, possums, coyotes and more – getting well in their home or garage. (Jackie passed away in 2013. They will be thrilled to be together again.)

Keith was the proud owner of, and main plumber for, Keith Merrill Plumbing & Pump Repair/A1 Plumbing & Pump Repair for four decades. He loved his customers, and he often repaired things at a discount or for free when people couldn’t afford to have something fixed.

In March 2018, Keith had the first two of his four strokes. Following surgery and extensive rehabilitation, he battled back to nearly his former self. After he suffered his third stroke in July 2018, Keith went to live with his daughter Kathleen; she, and later with her husband Cordell, took care of him until shortly before his passing.

Much to his dismay, Keith endured many health problems, hospital admissions and stays in rehabilitation facilities over the rest of his lifetime.

After 15 months of quarantine because of the coronavirus and getting vaccinated, Keith was enjoying forging a new life at Wesley Manor, where he had lived for one month. During that time, he made a lot of friends, and enjoyed many activities there, including bingo and a Euchre club that he started. He played four games of Euchre the day before his last stroke. It was his favorite game, one he played with great joy with his relatives and friends.

Keith loved fishing, plumbing, eating good food, laughter, and country music, especially Johnny Cash. He always had a joke to tell, and he loved hearing new ones from friends and strangers. But he never actually met a stranger; they were friends that he hadn’t yet met.

He will be deeply missed by the people who were closest to him at the end of his life: his daughter Kathleen; his son-in-law Cordell; his neighbor Chuck (and wife Marilyn); his friend Lester (and wife Vicki); his friend Bob (and wife Ruthie); his brother Ronnie (and wife Cynthia); and the rest of the Merrill family.

Visitation will be Saturday, July 24, 2021, from 1-3 p.m. at Goodwin Funeral Home, 200 S. Main St., in Frankfort, IN 46041. Funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 28, 2021, also at Goodwin Funeral Home, followed by a graveside service at Lincoln Memory Gardens, 6851 Indianapolis Road, Whitestown, IN 46075. All are invited to attend any of the services.  Keith wasn’t a dressy guy, so wear what makes you feel comfortable.

Memorial donations may be made to the Clinton County Humane Society, P.O. Box 455, Frankfort, IN 46041.

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Leave your Condolences

14 Condolences for “Keith Wayne Merrill”

  1. Heather Wiggins July 20, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    What a life and a what a tribute to Keith. May our Lord’s peace be with his family.

  2. Vicki Burch July 20, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    Kat and Cordell-
    Keith was like a father to me and Lester. He would call and ask Lester if I had made it home from work daily! I will miss his sense of humor and knowledge of many things especially plumbing issues. I appreciate all the love and support he gave Lester. He was always willing to help out with yard work, sorting out my state quarters and keeping my husband engaged in projects. I will miss the weekly Wednesday evening visits and Saturday morning breakfasts that Lester and Keith had. I am honored to have had a few hours with him the other evening…memories I will always treasure!
    Keith- remember what I told you that night…give my Roxie girl a huge hug from me!! And I will miss you forever!!

  3. Rick Alexander July 20, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    My condolences to Kat and Cordell. He will be truly missed. I only spent a few times with him and a week where we watched baseball games, Family Feud and fun painting and taking care of the dogs and cats. It didn’t seem like a job. He made it as if I lived there and was related to him. We clicked together playing euchre or just shooting the breeze. He led an entertaining life and was a proud American and like the obit said he had very fair plumber prices and great deals for his customers. He was a coin collector too and too many other things to mention, like I said he will be missed by all who knew him.

  4. Kathleen Merrill July 20, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    I so miss my Papa. – Kathleen

  5. Cindy Smith July 20, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    I am so sad to hear of your dad’s passing. He will always be in your heart and watching over you. Hugs and love to you and Cordell.

  6. Dan Aznoff July 20, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    Happy you were able to be with your dad for so much time before his passing. Your love and dedication to your father is what every father dreams of from the day his children are born. Celebrate a life well lived and the grand legacy he established. Peace and love,
    Dan Aznoff

  7. Mark Letanosky July 20, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Kay and Cordell, I am so sorry to hear of your families loss, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Betsy Homan July 20, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    I am so very for the loss of your beloved father. I know that taking care of him was difficult at times but what a beautiful act of service, dedication, and love. May you and your loved ones experience the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. God is close to the broken hearted and He will give you strength to comfort you in your loss. Love you so very much my dear friend!

  9. Brenda Daggy July 20, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    Hugs and prayers for you, Cordell and the rest of the Merrill family. I know how hard it is. Just keep your memories close to your heart and remember that he will always be with you in spirit. I did not know him personally, but, it’s obvious how loved he was and he sounded like a hard working, happy individual who lived an interesting and full life.

  10. Lori Caldwell-Hopkins July 21, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    Kat Cordell, thinking of you at this difficult time. We are never ready to say goodbye to our loved ones but a life well-lived in the service of others is a great thing and your dad lived a full life. May you find the peace of Christ as you remember the precious moments of time spent with your dad.

  11. Timothy Bowen July 21, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    Kat, sorry to hear of your fathers passing! Hope there are better days ahead for you all! God Bless!

  12. Teresa Vincent July 24, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    I remember when we moved next door to you 21 years ago. We lived beside you for 4 years. You treated us with kindness and bought my kids candy and presents. Treated them like your own. You hired my boys to help you do plumbing. This breaks my heart to hear of your passing. I will never forget you and your jokes.

  13. Tristan Ewing July 25, 2021 at 12:47 am

    Prayers and condolences to this family.

  14. Lester Burch July 27, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Keith has been a blessing in my life. His love of plumbing, coins, and family was worn on his sleeve. He will be missed by many and I will never forget him!

    Condolences to Kat, Cordell, and family.

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