Elizabeth Merrill (born Clara Elizabeth Russel) passed away peacefully in her home overlooking the Pacific Ocean Dec. 17, 2013. Born January 12, 1926, Lizzy was raised in Pasadena with her brother and two sisters. She continued to live there throughout her life, starting a family with Hal Stratton, later adding three step-children when she married David Merrill in 1964. She instilled a love of the arts, in all of her children, taking them to museums theaters all over Southern California. She was an outspoken champion of modern art and the public art movement. She was an active member of the Diggers Garden Club and the Pasadena Art Alliance and was instrumental in raising money to build the Pasadena Art Museum. When her youngest children entered high school, Liz parlayed her innate talent for flower arranging into a highly successful flower business. She and David retired in 1991 and moved to Santa Barbara to fulfill their lifelong dream of living on the ocean. After moving there, they embraced all that the area had to offer, and enjoyed entertaining family and friends at their seaside home. No matter what she did throughout the years, Lizzy will be remembered most by the joy and optimism she brought to every situation. Her sparkly eyes, infectious laugh, and generous spirit brought faith to everyone around her that "it will all work out." She is loved and adored by many, and will always be remembered by those who's lives she touched. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, David in 2009, her son Peter in 1975, and her siblings Stuart and Jane. She is survived by her sister Emily Newton of Pasadena; children Katie Zelko (Steven) and Maggie West (David) of Santa Barbara; Jane Stratton (Bobby), Sarah Balla (Bob), Blandy Merrill, and Emily Galli of Santa Cruz; Lolly Stafford (Jimmy) of Healdsburg; Tim Merrill (Joanie) of Pleasant Hill; 11 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter who fondly know her as Nana. Along with her own children, David and Lizzy opened their home to countless others throughout the years, taking them in as if they were their own, offering a bed, a poker game, and a good meal. The extended family that they created continued to be in their lives.
Lizzy will be greatly missed.
Private services will be held.
Published in San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Feb. 8, 2014