Merrill Francis O’Karma, doting father and grandfather, lit every room with his infectious laugh, unwavering generosity, and steadying presence. While he worked for many years at Western Airlines, Delta Airlines, and the University of Utah, he was proudest of his role as father to Amanda O’Karma Esko and Jillian O’Karma, and as grandfather to Pamela Grace Esko and Matthew Esko.
Merrill died unexpectedly in his Sandy, Utah home on July 24, 2021 in Sandy, Utah at the age of 74. Merrill is survived by his sister, Darlene Mattes; daughters, Amanda (Peter) Esko and Jillian (Austin Bracken) O’Karma; sons Brian O’Karma and Jayce(Jody) Witmer; father-in-law Wayne Brimner; and grandchildren, Pamela Grace and Matthew Esko, Chandler Leiber and Jackson Witmer. He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Pamela O’Karma, daughter Becky O’Karma, and his mother-in-law Patricia Brimner.
Merrill was born on April 11, 1947 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He married the love of his life, Pamela O’Karma, in 1978. A steadfast worker, Merrill aimed to make other people’s days easier, both in his airline work and with the University of Utah Student Apartments. Merrill’s presence universally put people at ease. His tall stature and joyous spirit overflowed with kindness and his quiet, happy smile radiated pride for his family. He loved Sunday dinners with his daughters, days out with his grandchildren, and any opportunity for a cruise.
A service will be held on July 30, 2021 at 10am at Mt Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City, to celebrate his wondrous life.
Merrill’s memory will live on in the stories and thoughts that people share, so please take a moment to do so.
We are deeply saddened to hear of Merrill's passing. We knew him for over 40years
and had many good times with him at Western/Delta and lunches with him after our
retirement. Our deepest sympathy to his family at this difficult time.
Leanne and I are so sorry to hear of your passing. You were a true human being and friend. Rest in peace, my friend. God grant you the peace you deserve. May your family take comfort, that you were walking on the path of a true human being. Throughout your life.
I've know Merrill...Stick...for many years with Western/Delta Airlines. He was my Supervisor and he was a Kind and Caring one. He always treated All of us with respect. His sense of humor was endless. I had the upmost respect for him. It's hard for me to think he is gone. The world has lost a very Gentle Giant...
Rest In Peace...Stick...
Will never for get you.
Dear Amanda, Pete and family. My heart goes out to you at this very sad time. Your father was a beautiful soul and a bright light. I feel blessed to have known Merrill. He was funny, witty with an infectious laugh and a twinkle in his eye! He always had a story that would have us laughing until our sides hurt! He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
What I remember most about Merrill is how much he loved his daughter, Amanda and how much fun the two of them seemed to have in each other's company.
Uncle Merrill has been a rock for the last several years with the passing of my dad and my moms medical stuff. Not a week went by without him checking in not only to see how mom was but to make sure that I was doing ok and taking time for me. Uncle Merrill I will miss our weekly (and sometimes daily) conversations and jokes. I'm blessed to have you as my uncle and you will be missed with all my heart. I promise to continue to take care of mom. May you RIP with our Heavenly Father. You will be missed, always in my heart and enver forgotten.
To my cousins Aunt Darlene and I are always here for you no matter what. We are so so sorry for your loss. Your dad was the best and such an amazing man and had unconditional love for both of you and was so proud of your success.