Keith Merrill Obituary (1944 – 2021) – Frankfort, IN

Keith Wayne Merrill received his ultimate healing from the Lord when he left his earthly body at IU Frankfort Hospital at 7:00 PM on Friday, July 16, 2021. He was 76.

Keith was born on August 3, 1944 to the late Lawrence and Allegra Merrill, and grew up on the family farm near Thorntown. He was one of 11 children: Leon, Barbara, Pat, Betty, Donald, Ronnie, Howard, Mary, James and Joyce. Of his siblings, he is survived by his brother Ronnie and sister Joyce.

Keith attended Thorntown High School, but dropped out to join the Navy when he was 17. He received his GED in service, where he reached the rank of seaman (E-3). He served with honors in the Vietnam War, including aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard. He was discharged from the Navy in 1966, shortly after his daughter Kathleen was born.

In the Navy, Keith learned the trade of plumber and pipe fitting, which he continued to do throughout his life. He first worked at Pioneer Flintkote in California. He then installed plumbing on aircraft for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, in the Douglas Aircraft Division, in Long Beach, California.

Keith loved all animals and owned a pet and fish store, Merrill’s Tropicals, in California before moving his family back to Indiana in 1981. After that move, he and the love of his life, Jackie Merrill, worked in wildlife rehabilitation, and there were always wild animals — snakes, foxes, owls, possums, coyotes, and more — getting better in their home or garage. (Jackie passed away in 2013.)

Keith was the proud owner and lead plumber for Keith Merrill Plumbing & Pump Repair / A1 Plumbing & Pump Repair for four decades. He loved his customers and often repaired things at a discount or for free when people couldn’t afford to get something repaired.

In March 2018, Keith had the first two of his four strokes. After surgery and extensive rehabilitation, he fought back to almost his former self. He suffered his third stroke in July 2018, when he moved in with his daughter Kathleen, and later with her and her husband Cordell, who cared for him until shortly before his death.

He endured many health problems, hospitalizations and stays in rehabilitation centers for the rest of his life.

After 15 months of quarantine for the coronavirus and being vaccinated, Keith enjoyed building a new life at Wesley Manor, where he had lived for a month. During that time, he made many friends and enjoyed many activities there, including bingo and a Euchre club he started. He played four games against Euchre the day before his last strike. It was his favorite game, a game he enjoyed playing with his family and friends.

Keith loved fishing, plumbing, good food, laughter, and country music, especially Johnny Cash. He always had a joke to tell and he loved hearing new ones from friends and strangers. But he never met a stranger, only friends he hadn’t met yet.

He will be greatly missed by the people closest to him at the end of his life: his daughter Kathleen; his son-in-law Cordell; his neighbor Chuck (and wife Marilyn); his friend Lester (and wife Vicki); his friend Bob (and wife Ruthie); his brother Ronnie (and wife Cynthia); and the rest of the Merrill family.

Visitation will be on Saturday, July 24, 2021, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at Goodwin Funeral Home, 200 S. Main St., in Frankfort, IN 46041. Funeral Service will be at 1:00 PM Wednesday, July 28, 2021, also at Goodwin Funeral Home, followed by a funeral service at Lincoln Memory Gardens, 6851 Indianapolis Road, Whitestown, IN 46075. Everyone is invited to attend one of the services.

Memorial donations can be made to the Clinton County Humane Society, PO Box 455, Frankfort, IN 46041.

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Published in The Times on July 20, 2021.

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