Jean Marilyn MERRILL (1926 - 2017)

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Jean Marilyn
1926 - 2017

Jean Marilyn (Landreth) Merrill passed away peacefully after a brief stay at Holy Family Hospital in Spokane on November 21, 2017, with her family at her side. She was 91 years old. A longtime resident of Chewelah, she was born in Spokane to Thomas Abraham Landreth and Ina Frances (Barnard) Landreth. Jean graduated from Reardan High School in 1944. She enrolled at Whitworth College where she earned a bachelor's degree in Home Economics and a minor in Music. She played the cello and also sang with the Whitworth Choir, traveling throughout the Northwest. Music would always hold a dear place in her heart - a special memory was her radio solo during the "chapel hour" at Whitworth.
While in line at the Whitworth bookstore in 1946, Jean met a young Navy veteran, Fred Merrill. Jean and Fred were married September 5, 1948 and were married for 65 years. They moved to Pullman that fall so Fred could attend Washington State College on the GI Bill. After Fred's graduation in 1951, they moved to Chewelah with their young son, Kirk, where Fred began a long career in education.
Jean and Fred were blessed with two additional children, daughter, Joan, and son, Mark. Jean soon became involved in the Chewelah community. She was active in the Congregational Church (later United Church of Christ), PEO, Eastern Star and the Chewelah Ski Club. She taught piano lessons for ten years and was a den mother for Cub Scouts. After Mark started school, Jean joined the staff at the elementary school as the principal's secretary. Many of the staff soon started referring to her affectionately as "Mother Merrill". She retired in 1988. Fred had retired in 1981 and was ready to travel.
They loved to visit family and also travelled to many Navy ship reunions. They travelled to Desert Hot Springs, CA in March every year and enjoyed the warm weather, pools and hot springs. They were always happiest at home in Chewelah and welcomed family and friends for many get-togethers.
Jean was music director at her church for many years. She was an accomplished organist and sang in the choir. Her hobbies over the years included ceramics, painting, skiing and golf - and she was never afraid to engage in a friendly conversation.
Fred passed away in 2014. Jean moved to Hawthorne Manor in Spokane in September, 2016. She enjoyed her independence in assisted living and was happy to be near Whitworth and Didier's - which had always been a stop on the way home to Chewelah. The family would like to recognize the caring staff at Rockwood Hawthorne as well as the care that she received while at Holy Family.
Jean was preceded in death by her parents, Thomas and Ina Landreth, brother Quintin Landreth and husband, Fred Merrill. She is survived by sister, Glenna Zwainz; her children, Kirk (Linda) Merrill (Federal Way, WA), Joan (Rick) White (Coeur d Alene, ID), Mark (Jeanie) Merrill (Eagle River, AK); grandchildren, Kimberly Merrill, Samantha (Don) Greenwood, Kassi (Eland) Breiter, Courtney (Mike) Walsh, Fred (Heather) Merrill, Chelsea (Stephen) Normand; great-grandsons, Lucas Mark Merrill, Oliver Thomas Greenwood, Aaron Arvid Merrill, Bennett James Greenwood, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral service for Jean will be held on Saturday, December 2nd at 1:00 pm at the United Church of Christ in Chewelah.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a memorial contribution to the United Church of Christ, PO Box 378, Chewelah, WA 99109 or P.E.O. Chapter BS, c/o Diane Anderson, Treasurer; PO Box 478; Chewelah, WA 99109.
Please go online to and sign the guestbook. DANEKAS FUNERAL CHAPEL and CREMATORY are entrusted with the arrangements.

Funeral Home
Danekas Funeral Chapel & Crematory
402 E Main Ave
Chewelah, WA 99109
(509) 935-8411
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Published in Spokesman-Review from Nov. 26 to Nov. 29, 2017