Kenneth Rogers Merrill was born to Arley Vivian and Helen Maude (Elliott) Merrill on June 15, 1932, in Marshall, Texas. He died July 2, 2018, in Arlington, Texas.
Kenneth grew up in Marshall, playing baseball and football, sometimes engaging in friendly warfare with his brother Bill, nephews, cousins, and friends. He became a Christian at an early age.
In 1950 Kenneth pitched and won both games of a double header to win bi-district championship for the Marshall Mavericks baseball team. The same year his classmates voted him “most intellectual boy” in his graduating class.
Kenneth graduated summa cum laude from Bethany-Peniel College in 1954.
An August 28, 1954, ceremony in Olton, Texas, united Kenneth and his college sweetheart, Vanita Carol Harrod, in marriage. They moved to Evanston, Illinois, where Kenneth, with a fellowship and Vanita’s support, earned his master’s and PhD degrees in philosophy from Northwestern University.
Kenneth joined the philosophy faculty at the University of Oklahoma in September 1958. He spent the next 47 years doing what he loved: teaching. For many years an award has been given in the OU Philosophy Department to the best graduate student teaching his or her own class, the Kenneth Merrill Teaching Award.
Kenneth was preceded in death by his wife, Vanita, and their son, Gavin Lee Merrill, brother Bill Merrill and wife Margaret, sisters Helen Goulden and husband Darrell, and Bobbie Neighbors, and husband Lloyd.
He is survived by a sister, Sue Merrill, nephews, Ted Goulden and wife Daisy, Arley Goulden, Robert Goulden and wife Fran, David Goulden and wife Karen, Lloyd Neighbors, Jr. and wife Mary, Bill Merrill, Jr., Mark Merrill, nieces, Diane Shade and husband Fred, Debbie Merrill, Amy Weber and husband Troy, brother-in-law Duane Harrod and wife B.J., sisters-in-law Marjorie Biggs and husband George, Betty Stilley and husband Ed, Joy Meeker and husband Gary, Jackie Fowler and husband Dennis, numerous great nephews, great nieces, colleagues, and friends.
A visitation will be Friday July 6, 2018 from 4pm-8pm with family receiving friends from 6pm-8pm at Havenbrook Funeral Home. Funeral services will begin 2:00pm Saturday July 7, 2018 at the Havenbrook Funeral Home Chapel.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Samaritan’s Purse, Salvation Army, Covenant House, or Meals on Wheels.