News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

William Boland Merrill III, April 22, 1937 — February 6, 2021

William “Bill” Merrill was born in Philadelphia to William and Mary Merrill. His father was an Air Force officer, so Bill and his family moved frequently around the country – and the world – living in Louisiana, Florida, French Morocco, and Wiesbaden, Germany, where Bill graduated from high school.

Friends talked Bill into attending Oregon State College. Bill pledged Delta Tau Delta fraternity, and participated on the crew team and ROTC. After graduating in 1959, he was commissioned as an officer in the US Army.

While stationed at Ft. Lewis, he met Jacqueline Phillips, a nurse, on a blind date. That successful first date led to a 55-year marriage. Bill and Jacque soon welcomed son, Bill, and daughter, Kelli, to the family. Meanwhile, Bill served as a Green Beret in Vietnam. After returning to the states, the family moved numerous times as Bill rose through the ranks, including assignments in Hawaii, Alabama, Kansas, Germany, and Washington, D.C. The family had many adventures camping, hiking, and skiing throughout Europe and the U.S.

After 29 years of service, Bill retired as a Colonel. He and Jacque moved to Oregon, living in Sunriver and Bend before settling in Sisters. Bill became an avid fly-fisherman, learning to make his own rods and tie flies. The Deschutes and Metolius rivers became second homes. Bill also served on the Sisters City Council, helping provide direction for the City’s growth.

Bill was proud of his service to his country and local community; he felt it was important to be involved. Bill was also proud of his children (both followed in his footsteps to OSU, and Kelli served in the Army), and especially fond of his grandkids: Ben, Griff, Abby, Aaron and Nick. Bill’s legacy is instilling in his kids and grandkids a love of travel, the outdoors, and service to others.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Jacque. He is survived by his children, Bill (and Gigi) Merrill of Salem, and Kelli (and Ben) Baker of the United Arab Emirates; his grandchildren Ben (and Joju), Griffin (and Becca), Abigail (and Matthew), Aaron (and Delaney), and Nicholas; and his brother, Hank (and Marilyn), and sister Mary Jo (and Rusty) Shenk.

Due to COVID-19, a memorial service will be held later this year. In the meantime, please celebrate Bill’s long and eventful life by hiking in the woods, fishing in a stream, or sharing stories in his memory.


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