Zeller Chapel of the Roses

2107 Ne Broadway St, Portland, OR


John Russell Merrill

March 9, 1931August 6, 2019

John (Jack) Russell Merrill died in Portland surrounded by family; he was 88. John was born March 9, 1931 in Hillsboro, Oregon to Chester and Wilma Merrill. He attended grade and high schools there. He then went to Lewis and Clark College and Oregon State University, where he met and married Barbara Blakley in 1952. John graduated in 1953, with a degree in Natural Resources and later a Masters in Public Administration. In 1954, John and Barbara's daughter, Theresa, was born. John served in the Marines at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1956; he stayed in the Reserves and later retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. After active duty, John and his family moved to Portland, where he had a long career in government. He served as the Clackamas Planning Director, the Vancouver Planning Director, the Assistant Regional Director of H.U.D. in Seattle, and later as a Bonneville Power Administration Public Affairs Officer. In 1966, Barbara developed complications from polycystic kidney disease, and John dialyzed her at home for 20 years before her death in 1989. In 1992, John married Sue Anne Redman in Rome, Italy. He retired in 1994 and spent time volunteering in the community in a cable TV program and as a Master of Ceremonies for the Ruth Sanborn Dancers. John and Sue traveled to over 30 countries. He also spent time with his family and enjoyed playing with his grandchildren, especially doing magic tricks for them. John's magic tricks entertained countless numbers of kids (and adults) wherever he went. John was funny and caring, and he had a special way of connecting with people with his smile. He lived his last years with Sue at Holladay Park Plaza, where he was surrounded by the kindness of the staff and residents. John is survived by his wife, Sue; her son Jason (Marlena Buen) Redman, grandchildren Valynn and Caden Redman of Portland; and his daughter Theresa (Dale) Luhman, grandchildren Crescent (Sonu) Gill and Kern (Katie) Luhman, and great grandchildren Jack and Cedar Loehr and Hansbir Gill, and Fenna and George Luhman of Seattle. A memorial gathering will be held later. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Holladay Park Plaza Residents Assistance Trust Fund.


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John Russell Merrill

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Connie Plowman

August 13, 2019

Theresa, Sue, and the Merrill family -- Today, our hearts have a big hole. Jack brought us wonderful memories. One special moment was at Thanksgiving when I was a kid, Jack would let me stand on his feet and dance. Now he is dancing with the angels.

Rest in peace, Jack. You will be missed. Thanks for the memories. -- Connie