Cover photo for Donald  R. Merriman's Obituary
Donald  R. Merriman Profile Photo
1934 Donald 2018

Donald R. Merriman

August 18, 1934 — October 15, 2018

A loving family man, honest and hardworking are just a few ways to describe Don Merriman. His past could have been an easy way for him to go down the wrong path, but he did not let it happen. At an early age, he went through and overcame so much to be the great man he was. For all who knew Don, life will never be the same without him here.

The year 1934 saw a turning point in the Great Depression in America with unemployment decreasing to 22%. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set up public works around the country to construct bridges, roads and flood control dams in an attempt to put America back on its feet. The FBI had considerable success ending the careers with celebrity criminals John Dillinger, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson and the federal penitentiary Alcatraz opens. In entertainment, a star was born when five-year-old Shirley Temple stole the show when she played a minor role in Stand Up and Cheer, Donald Duck appeared for the first time in "The Wise Little Hen" and the first trampoline was invented. On August 18, 1934 in Kosciusko County, Indiana, Minar and Myrtle (Maggert) Merriman welcomed a little boy into the world, Donald R. Merriman.

At the age of seven, Don's mother passed away and his father remarried. This led to he and his siblings being split up and he lived in an orphanage for a few years before living at various farms and working for a roof over his head. At the age of 11 he was working a man's job and this helped build his strong work ethic. Over the years growing up though, he was able to keep a relationship with his siblings. During his education years he attended many schools. When he was not farming, he worked nights at a rubber factory while he was in school. Don's senior year he left school as his oldest brother Robert was sent off to war. The two lived in a trailer and without Robert's income; they would lose it so Don worked full time. He went back to school and graduated in 1954 from Pierceton High School.

He transported Studebaker cars and in 1963, he got into the truck business. By 1965 he was managing a truck sales department. Over the years he worked in Fort Wayne for Hefner, DeHaven and Kelley Chevrolet, retiring in 1996. For several years in the late 1970's he also owned M&M Used Motors in Kendallville. Don had a successful career because he was not a salesman who was just all about the money, he knew what he was selling and was educated on what he sold. Along with being a salesman, he also farmed on the side and raised livestock.

As his children, Gary, Danny, Kenny, Laura and Kevin were growing up; they took a few long trips in the summer months. They hooked their station wagon up to a pull behind camper and traveled west, visiting many of the country's famous sites including Yellow Stone National Park and Mount Rushmore. Don liked history and wanted he and his kids to see these national spots.

In 1988 Don started dating Waneta (Leininger) Wood. The two had known each other as long as he had been in the truck sales business and together they experienced many wonderful moments over the next 30 years. Bringing Waneta into his heart also meant he welcomed three more children, Patty, Penny and Belle into his heart.

Don enjoyed watching his Westerns, but it had to be real western shows and he never considered Bonanza a western. He watched wrestling and was so disappointed when one of his sons had to break the news that it was more for entertainment when he saw rivals at the time, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage sitting by each other having a good time on a flight. He enjoyed all kinds of auctions and several family members thought that Don would buy just about anything. Over the years he collected guns, hit-and-miss engines and tractors, especially Farmall International tractors. In the fall time, Don went on many hunting adventures, including Elk hunting. He and Waneta spent a lot of time attending auctions and going to the Whitley County 4-H fair to bid on livestock for Kelley's.

On Monday afternoon, October 15, 2018 at Parkview Whitley Hospital, Don passed away at 1:13 p.m. at the age of 84. He is survived by his best friend and wife of over 30 years, Waneta Wood, of Columbia City; children, Gary (Bonnie) Merriman, of Fort Wayne, Danny (Julie) Merriman, of Greenville, South Carolina, Laura (Steve Clark) Johnson, of Garrett, Kevin (Dawn) Merriman, of Huntertown, Patty Jackson, of Columbia City, Penny (Tim) Arick, of Columbia City and Belle (Bennie) Snyder, of Fort Wayne; sister, Hope Grimme, of Portland; half-siblings, Steve Merriman, of Thailand and Sydney Merriman, of Maine; and numerous loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Kenny Merriman in 2001; brothers, Paul and Robert Merriman; and an infant sister, Delores Merriman.

Visitation is 2-7 p.m. Thursday, October 18, 2018 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Friday at the funeral home with Certified Funeral Celebrant Sharon Brockhaus officiating. Burial will follow at Mock Cemetery, North Webster where Don will be laid to rest beside his son, Kenny. Memorial donations may be made in his memory to Whitley County 4-H Inc. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send his family condolences online.

Visitation

DeMoney-Grimes a Life Story Funeral Home
600 Countryside Drive Columbia City, Indiana 46725

2:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Service

DeMoney-Grimes a Life Story Funeral Home
600 Countryside Drive Columbia City, Indiana 46725

10:00 AM
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