Chelena Lynn Merriman

March 13, 1973April 25, 2021

I had to wait 48 years to get my name in the paper. Chelena Lynn Merriman born on March 13, 1973, passed away in her sleep at home on Sunday 25 April 2021. Chelena Lynn Merriman was a graduate of McKendree University, served as a Government Civil Service employee for the Army, Air Force and Joint Special Operations Command. Upon retiring from Civil Service, Chelena continued her career as the Executive Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Police for Danville, Virginia.

She was superseded in death by her Father James Jaffke, a Vietnam Marine Veteran and her Father-In-Law, James “Butch” Larry Merriman. Mrs. Merriman is survived by her Husband Larry Dean Merriman, her Step-Daughter Brianna Christine Merriman and her mother-in law-Bertha Lee Merriman, along with her sister-in-law Lisa Dawn Hodges and her Husband Lanny Hodges, her brother-in-law Robert Merriman and his wife Heidi Merriman plus various nieces and nephews.

Chelena’s final wish was to be cremated and have her ashes spread out around several of her favorite places. She also requested in lieu of flowers that a donation be made to your local ASPCA or Cancer research.

There will be a Celebration of Life in her honor at Collins Funeral Home, 30 Riverside Hwy, Bassett, Virginia on Saturday, May 1, 2021 from 12:00 to 2:00 PM. This will be a time for those who wish to come and share stories of Chelena’s life and how she made an impact on the life of others with whom she came into contact. This will not be a formal event, but a time for everyone to grieve and share the loss of this truly amazing lady.

Chelena was always the person who preferred to be in the background and assist others in being able to soar and fly like eagles. All throughout her life you can see this in the impact she had on the lives of her family, her friends and her co-workers. As the Bible says, we are to go forth and sow His seeds among your travels. Chelena epitomized this in her life. From early on in her life and in her career, Chelena always sought out mentors to help her become the best at whatever she endeavored to do. She translated that skill and leadership to others by herself becoming a mentor to others and helping them to grow not only professionally but emotionally and spiritually in their own lives and careers.

For those who had the pleasure of knowing or working with her; Chelena would tell you not to mourn her but to instead take the impact she had on your life and use it to impact others. By sharing your experiences with others, she continues to live.

Due to Covid-19, wearing of mask and social distancing will be required.

Online condolences at

Collins Funeral home at Bassett, Virginia is respectfully serving the Merriman Family.


  • James Jaftke, Father (deceased)
  • James "Butch" Larry Merriman, Father-in-law (deceased)
  • Larry Dean Merriman, Husband
  • Brianna Christine Merriman, Step-daughter
  • Bertha Lee Merriman, Mother-in-law
  • Lisa Dawn Hodges, Sister-in-law
  • Lanny Hodges, Lisa's husband
  • Robert Merriman, Brother-in-law
  • Heidi Merriman, Robert's Wife
  • Chelena is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.


  • Celebration of Life Service

    Saturday, May 1, 2021


Chelena Lynn Merriman

have a memory or condolence to add?

Wendy Hall

May 1, 2021

Larry and Family,
I am beyond saddened to hear about Chelena. She was a breath of fresh air and always impressed me with her willingness to help others and share her talents. I learned so much from her during her short time with Danville Public Schools. Her kind heart will always be remembered. I have tokens of her kind heart in my office from the gifts she gave ME when she left DPS, instead of the other way around. She was a jewel and she will be missed.
Prayers for comfort and peace.

Chris Niblett

May 1, 2021

To The Merriman Family,
I had the pleasure of getting to know Chelena for just a short while while employed at PHCC, however, we kept in contact from time to time, we connected because of our military background . She was a very sweet and humble person. May the memories of Chelena bring you comfort for the days ahead, and may Our Lord and Savior pour out his loving spirit during your time of bereavement and the days going forward.
God Bless you all.
Chris Niblett

Darren James

April 29, 2021

I had the great pleasure of working alongside Chelena at Eighteenth Air Force, as she took care of the Commander and kept things running smoothly. I appreciated her candor and work to improve our organization. My thoughts and prayers are with Larry and the family. May God bless each of you.

Annette Jones

April 29, 2021

We are so sorry for your loss. May you feel God's presence ever so near during this time of difficultly. Sending up prayers.

Angie Stone

April 29, 2021

My prayers are with the entire Merriman family at this time. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know you dont remember me but I had met you larry and your mom a few times and I know what a nice family you are.


April 28, 2021

Our thoughts and prayers are with you Larry. We are sorry that we didn't get to know her better. She sounds like a very special person. God bless you during this time of grief.

Eddie and Myra Bourne

April 28, 2021

We are so sorry for your loss of Chelena. Thoughts and prayers for all of you.

Shannon Whitlow

April 28, 2021

Chelena had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the room. She always kept the focus on the person she was talking with, she shied away from the spotlight . Her laugh and energy were infectious. Chelena was a giving and beautiful soul. She was all heart and poured her all into helping others. I miss and love you my friend!

Cindy Hoebing

April 28, 2021

To the Merriman family,
Chelena was a beautiful, kind, caring individual that God gave me the gift of knowing. She was always there for others and giving of her self and her time. I am so sorry for your loss.

Anika White

April 27, 2021

To the Merriman Family:

Chelena was a very special and sweet lady who had heart of helping others. She will be miss but never forgotten. My deepest sympathy and prayers to you and your family.