Rondal Dan Merrell Sr.
Rondal Dan Merrell Sr., 87, surprised us all by going to heaven a little earlier than we expected on Friday August, 19, 2016. Just like him to make a decision on his own without consulting the rest of us. His wife Betty Jo Merrell, a year older and his lifetime companion for over 60 years, is still alive and kicking at the time of this writing. She may decide to join him, but for now, she seems content to sing and whistle away her days in contagious joy. As she suffered through Alzheimer’s for the past five years, Ron was her constant guardian and companion, honoring the vows he made to her on July 12, 1948. He passed away lying by her side, departing quietly and peacefully faster than the blink of an eye according to the nurses and caregivers who were present. His two sons, Rondal Dan Merrell Jr. and Timothy Edward Merrell, are, in God’s providence, still on earth taking care of their mom to the best of their abilities. Ron had one grandchild, Lauren, who just turned 9 and lives on the horse ranch with her fther (Tim) and mom (Dawn). She must have gotten some of her grandfather’s “cowboy western” loving blood in her as she is a horse-crazy young lady through and through. Ron was beloved by many all across the world (he and Betty served as Southern Baptist missionaries in South Vietnam from 1964-1974). He never met a stranger. And as a pastor for most of his life, his love for humanity in all its raw messiness was one of his most endearing qualities. Whether saving souls for the kingdom, or selling Ping irons at GolfSmith, Ron gave it his all. He loved Jesus, his family, the Bible and books about it, country-western music, western films and TV (Gunsmoke 2 hours per day), golf, preaching and teaching, history and big white American-made cars. But more than any of that, he loved people. If you knew him, you know that. We are going to be celebrating his life at the First Baptist Church in Forney on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 1pm, 1003 College Ave, Forney, TX 75126. His son Dan will be doing most of the remembering of his dear old dad, “the country bumpkin” (his words). In addition, the Rev. Prissy Tunnell (a fellow missionary in Vietnam and best friend of Betty) will be leading music in the service, with Betty’s brother Rex Caughron playing dad’s uptempo favorites before and after the service. It will be a grand old time. My dad lived sold out to God and died well. His afterlife wish was to sing in the Heavenly choir. Or peel potatoes if that’s what was needed. He also had a list of questions for God, Jesus and a host of Bible characters (watch out Adam and Eve). Meanwhile, those of us on earth can celebrate his passing in several ways: - Come to the service at 1pm on August 25th, First Baptist Church Forney. Graveside service will be directly afterwards and all are invited. - Send flowers to the funeral home for the service - New Hope Funeral Home, 500 E. Hwy 80, Sunnyvale, TX 75182. Donald Coffman is the funeral director there handling details. - If you want to purchase flowers for the funeral, contact The Wild Orchid at 972- 288-7661 or 1-800-537-8704. They are nearby the funeral home. - If you have a picture or memory you’d like to submit, please visit the website at www.newhopefh.com. Ron’s funeral information will be there, as well as place for pictures and written memories. I loved my father, miss him very much and look forward to remembering him in style. He was one of a kind. I hope it’s a long while until I see him again, but I look forward to that moment with an aching heart for what we all have lost for a short time. “For God so loved the world, He gave his only son so that whoever believed in him would NOT perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE.” - John 3:16. That’s my promise and hope and very strong belief. - Written by his son, Rondal Dan Merrell Jr.