Richard (Dick) Merkel
1935 - 2020
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Richard (Dick) Merkel

Phoenix, Arizona - Merkel, Richard L. (Dick) of Phoenix, died on October 16,2020. He was age 85. Dick was born in Madison, Wisconsin on June 10, 1935, the son of Leo and Eleanor Merkel. He grew up in Madison and attended the University of Wisconsin - Madison attaining B.B.A. (Business) and J.D. (Law) degrees. Following Law School, he moved to Arizona in 1961 and lived in Tempe for 31 years before relocating to Mountain Park Ranch in the Ahwatukee Foothills in 1992. Dick's professional career as attorney/educator/banker spanned 35 years. He practiced law in Tempe for many years and spent several years on the College of Business faculty at Arizona State University. He was also involved in numerous adult professional programs through the Center for Executive Development at ASU; and CLU, CPCU, and Realtors GRI programs to name a few. The last ten years of his full time career was spent as Vice President and Trust Officer for First Interstate Bank of Arizona (now Wells Fargo). Following his retirement from the bank in 1996, he began a new part time career serving as a professional arbitrator for the securities industry. Dick was an avid sports fan (especially Arizona State and professional baseball) and enjoyed golf (prior member of the Mesa Country Club), fishing, skiing, music, opera and the theatre. He and wife Jan spent many summers traveling in their motor home all across the United States and Canada (including Alaska). They traveled to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series on nine different occasions. Their favorite summer retreats became the Pacific Northwest and the White Mountains of Arizona. Dick was a member of many professional and community organizations over the years, including the State bars of Arizona and Wisconsin, Central Arizona and East Valley Estate Planning Councils, Tempe Diablos, Tempe Leadership Conferences, Delta Upsilon and Delta Sigma Pi. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Janice (a retired teacher), of Phoenix; five children, Daniel of Gilbert; Nancy Schabilion (Jeff) of Sacramento, California; Jane Renda (Larry) of Gilbert; Suzanne Ross (Bruce) of Mesa; and Alison Merkel of Pelham Manor, New York; his former wife, Rita Merkel(the mother of 4 of his children); ten grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren; his brother David (Patricia) of Tempe and their extended family. At his request, no services are planned.

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Published in The Arizona Republic from Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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2 entries
November 15, 2020
Dick was a joy to know. We were part of the Baseball Family in Omaha. He and Jan traveled well together and survived some epic Nebraska storms at Mahoney Park. Rest in Peace, friend.
Sue Dolsky
November 5, 2020
In 1970 i became a student in the college of business at Arizona State University. I had a part time job as the 'special assistant to the director' of the business college. basically it was a 'go fer' or office boy. The college had just opened the new business building and i was in an estate planning class taught by Professor Merkel. On the first day, Professor Merkel outlined the estate planning process and his outline for the semester. It covered 6 or 8 large (new) white boards. He was the first professor who wrote on them. Unfortunately it turned out that he had used a black permanent marker instead of a dry erase marker and his 'notes' were permanent. The next day my job was to visit every professor in the building and pick up any and all permanent markers. The 'notes' remained on the board for several weeks until the boards were replaced. Because of this, he and I became friends. We spent many hours discussing estate planning, local history and the differences between Tempe and Mesa. He was a very good teacher and I have often thought back on our friendship.
Dilworth Brinton Jr CLU ChFC
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