February 21, 1944 ~ April 11, 2009
Ronald Eric Merrill, 65, of La Joya, TX, previously of Rice Lake, WI, and the Canal Zone, Republic of Panama, passed away on April 11, 2009 from complications after a motorcycle accident. Memorial services will be Friday, April 24, 2009 at 1 p.m. at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in McAllen, TX. Family will receive friends after the service at the Church. After the service, family will scatter his ashes in the beaches of South Padre Island. He was born February 21, 1944 in St. Paul, MN. He served in the Army as a green beret in Panama, and after his honorable discharge he returned to Panama and worked for the Panama Canal Commission for 24 years. He worked his way up from a diver, fixing the Panama Canal Locks, to instructor at the technical school. He moved to McAllen and then La Joya, TX, and worked as a training specialist for South Texas College. There he taught the mechanical portion of the apprentices' training, along with courses such as air conditioning and OSHA to industry employees. "Professor" Ron had many students that thanked him for changing their lives. He worked hard and played hard. Throughout his life he jumped out of airplanes, raced motorcross, was a diver, owned and flew airplanes, enjoyed camping and numerous outdoor excursions both in Panama and the U.S. He embraced the hispanic culture and learned Spanish in his early 20's, speaking it without a hint of an accent. He loved his family. He was a good, kind man that always stopped to help others. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends. He is survived by his wife, Rosalinda Merrill, his daughters, Rose Wand [Daniel, Brittany, Nicole] of San Antonio, TX and Lori (Michael) Sytsma [Samantha, Jackson] of Tallahassee, FL, his stepsons, Rolando (Myra) Rodriguez [Tifanee, Rolando, Orlando] of Mission, TX, Jose (Yanette) Rodriguez [Hayden] of Mission, TX, and Francisco Rodriguez [Noah] of La Joya, TX, his mother, Inez Merrill of Rice Lake, WI, his sisters and brother, Renee LaPoint of Rice Lake, WI, Dean Merrill of Spearfish, SD, and Lori Dahle of Barron, WI, and by several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Donald Merrill, and his brother, Daniel Merrill.
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