Patricia Ann Perry Merrill
11/20/1940 - 08/09/2019
World-Traveler. “Gram” extraordinaire. Super hero.
Patricia “Pat” Ann Perry Merrill, passed away August 9, 2019, surrounded by friends and family after a heroic four-year battle to recover from a series of devastating strokes.
Pat was born November 20, 1940 to R. Allan and Bertha Perry in Murray, Utah. She was a surprise third child, arriving almost two decades after her brother Robert and sister Barbara. She developed a love for travel as a young child, being home-schooled for a number of years while accompanying her parents across the country and to Mexico for her father’s career managing smelters. Always a fighter, she survived and fully recovered from polio as a child. She was a proud member of the inaugural class at the (then) brand new Highland High School and went on to study at the University of Utah. A renegade at heart, she and her childhood friend, Dixon Skeen Merrill, eloped on February 3, 1960 and remained married until his untimely passing in February 2003. When their first child, Diane, was born prematurely, Pat and Dixon became fierce lifelong advocates for their daughter and active members of the special needs community.
Pat translated her love of travel into a career she loved. She worked as a travel agent for over 20 years beginning in the 1970’s. She later became the President of Utah Women in Travel and head of Salt Lake Community College’s Travel Training program, training a new generation for careers in the travel industry. In her later years, she loved traveling with and to visit her friends and family. She frequently crisscrossed the country to make sure she never missed one of her grandchildren’s baptisms, birthdays, performances or graduations. When she wasn’t traveling the globe, she was happiest at Perry-Dise in Brighton and loved hosting people there.
Besides her husband, Pat is preceded in death by her parents, as well as her brother and sister. She is survived by her daughters Diane Merrill and Linda Whitehurst (Robert), son Allan Merrill (Tracy), nephew Ken Sorensen and his children Allyson Nielson (Eric) and Kendra Davis (Darrin), and her beloved four granddaughters and three grandsons.
We are so grateful to all the extended family, friends, therapists and caregivers who provided Pat with care and companionship in her final years. She loved spending time with her WeeWee “sisters” who approached aging with the same irreverent attitude that she did, her book club that came to her when she could no longer easily travel to them, and her fellow Utah Gymnastics fans. We are particularly grateful to the therapists at Highland Care Center, who were charmed by Pat’s ever-present laugh and sense of humor. They gave her hope and never stopped believing in her and celebrating her progress, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
A celebration of life will be held the afternoon of Saturday, August 17th at Brighton Resort following a family burial service at Murray City Cemetery. Please contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan on attending the celebration in Brighton so we can send you details. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Camp Kostopulos Dream Foundation.