A Celebration of Life for William E. ‘Bill’ Merkel, 72 rural Lawrence, will be at 7:00 pm Thursday, July 16, 2015, at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, with Chaplain Paul Reed of Visiting Nurses officiating. A visitation will follow the service. Bill passed away Wednesday, June 24, 2015, at his home.
He was born April 4, 1943, in Lawrence, the son of Larry and Mildred Harris Merkel. He graduated from Lawrence High School in 1961. He served his country as a U. S. Marine. He worked in the auto body and wrecker service business for many years. He was a scuba diver and did underwater recovery. Bill was an avid drag racer and 4-wheeler and built and repaired many 4WD vehicles. In mid-life Bill completely changed careers and became a paramedic and firefighter working for Douglas County Ambulance, Leavenworth County EMS, and the Pottawatomie Tribal Fire Department.
Bill had a wide variety of interests, all of which centered around helping others. He taught CPR classes, avalanche education, fought forest fires in Wyoming and Montana and has been a member of the Snow Creek Ski Patrol for 26 years. Bill was recognized and received his National Appointment to the National Ski Patrol. He was a founding member of the Reno Township Fire Department and served as a Captain and Assistant Fire Chief. Bill helped his wife run the Corral Club many years ago and for the last 20 years assisted her with operating Sundance Emu Ranch.
Bill married Ann North Cripe on January 6, 1980, in Lawrence. She survives of the home. Other survivors include two brothers, Bob Merkel and Jim Robinson, both of Lawrence, two grandchildren, William and Dana, two great grandchildren,
and daughter-in-law, Joan Merkel. He was preceded in death by his parents, his son, William Edward Merkel, two brothers, Melvin and Paul Merkel, and one sister, Georgia Jessup.
The family suggests memorial contributions to Visiting Nurses/Hospice, in care of the funeral home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS. 66044. Online condolences may be sent at www.rumsey-yost.com