Oct. 9, 1926-Nov. 16, 2013
Preston, Idaho - Our beloved husband and father, Lyman Wood Merrill, passed away peacefully Nov. 16, 2013, in Logan, Utah.
He was born in his grandfather Merrill's home in Weston, Idaho, on Oct. 9, 1926, to Lawrence Wood Merrill and Hannah Elnora Nielsen Merrill. He was the youngest of three children and the only boy. He was in a hurry to be born and beat the doctor to his grandfather's home which required his maternal grandmother, Francess Nielsen, to deliver him. Fortunately she was a seasoned mid-wife.
Lyman attended grades first through eighth at Weston grade school and then graduated from Weston High School. During his high school years he was a standout football player and excelled at playing the cornet in the school band. He was often called upon to play his cornet at various community events. Later he used this talent in a dance band that played all over the southeastern Idaho area. Following his adventurous nature he also earned his pilot's license while attending high school.
When Lyman turned 18, he enlisted in the Maritime Service and was sent to Santa Catalina Island for six weeks of boot camp. He was then assigned to the liberty ship The Joel Palmer. Upon reaching the Philipines, he saw the first real action of his war: an air raid. His second assignment was to The Grinnell Victory. During the remainder of the war he served in the Merchant Marines carrying supplies to the troops in the South Pacific. Generally the supply ships traveled in convoys of battleships and destroyer escorts because they were targets for enemy submarines. His final assignment was to take supplies to troops at Okinawa as the end of the war. His ship arrived in Okinawa three days after the initial invasion by the American forces. The "wipe-up" operation was still in progress on the beach; Japanese Kamikaze planes were still occasionally coming in. While in the Okinawa port his ship was ordered to sea because of an in-coming typhoon. Away from port, they weathered high winds and waves three stories high. During this typhoon Lyman witnessed two nearby ships slip under water and disappear. He was in Okinawa when the war ended.
On July 21, 1947, Lyman married his high school sweetheart Norma Murdock in the Logan LDS Temple. He met his sweetheart at the end of his ninth grade year and, telling the story later, said the first time he saw her, "she was the cutest thing I had ever seen." He was totally smitten. Five daughters and one son were born to this couple: Tedra Gae, Jill Launa, Meridee, Jon Murdock, Lurayne, and Mollie Elizabeth. Jon lived for only five days and Lurayne died shortly after birth. Lyman and Norma felt the loss of their two little children every day of their lives. To his remaining four daughters he gave the great gift of loving their mother.
Lyman attended Utah State University, and earned a diploma in accounting from LaSalle Extension University. He also qualified as a certified tax practitioner. He was a hard worker and supported his family by farming, working as a fireman
, building homes, drawing construction plans, working at Thiokol, and preparing income tax forms. In 1968 he became the postmaster for the Weston Post Office and then, after a few years, transferred to the Preston Post Office where he served until his retirement after 25 years of service in 1992. During his time as a postmaster Lyman was very active in the National League of Postmasters, and served as the Idaho State President of the League. He served as a troubleshooter for the Postal Department and was assigned to assist post offices that were experiencing problems to help them become more successful. Lyman served on the postmaster selection board of the Salt Lake Sectional Center.
Lyman was active in the LDS church and served in various capacities such as scoutmaster, ward clerk and financial clerk.
Lyman was a very creative man. After retirement he began creating ironwork sculptures. Among these included lighted Christmas Soldiers, stars, and deer. Preston City commissioned Lyman to make lighted Christmas Soldiers that they used to line the main street of Preston for the Festival of Lights celebration. For this, the city honored Lyman and Norma as the 1998 Lamplighter and Queen of Lights of the festival. He also created American eagles, dragonflies, and various other sculptures. Finally, Lyman created a 3/4 size End of the Trail piece that now marks his final resting place in Weston, Idaho. He also loved carving animals and old west figures.
Finally, Lyman was a most generous man. He freely gave of both his time and money to anyone he saw that he thought was in need. These generous acts were performed quietly and often anonymously.
Lyman is survived by Norma, his wife of 67 years; his sister, Shirley Pitcher of Ogden, Utah; his daughters: Tedra (Mack) Balls of Pocatello, Idaho; Jill (Charlie) Moore of Newport, Oregon; Meridee (Michael) McDermott of Tremonton, Utah; and Mollie (Jeff) Larson of Logan, Utah. He is also survived by the five grandchildren he adored: Heidi Luker, Nicholas Ball, Katie Balls, Cody McDermott, and Destiny Spackman. Lyman is survived by 14 great-grandchildren.
Preceding Lyman in death were his parents Lawrence and Elnora Merrill, his sister Francess Bush and his two little children, Jon and Lurayne.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at 11 a.m. in the Whitney First Ward Chapel, 1444 S. 1600 East, Preston, Idaho. Friends may call Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the church in Whitney and Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. also at the church. Interment will be in the Weston Idaho Cemetery. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.webbmortuary.com