Dr. Robert Alston Merrell, Jr., of Deland, Fla., died February 15, 2019 at the age of 84. He lived his life with unbridled curiosity, a taste for adventure, abiding love for his family – and always a deep commitment to helping those in need. Bob was the first of five children born to Robert Alston Merrell and Katherine McDonald Merrell, and grew up in Daytona Beach. As a boy he typically had a snake or two under study. He once harbored a family of baby diamondbacks in his mother’s laundry basket! Gators, baby racoons, a seagull in a wing splint, and assorted other wounded wildlife populated his outdoor laboratory. His monkey, Chico, a noted escape artist, was well known in the neighborhood. He originally planned to pursue a veterinary career, until his father reasoned he might consider human medicine with animal care as a sideline.
Years later, after graduating from Seabreeze High, premed at The Citadel and a medical degree from Duke University, Bob trained in ENT at Yale Medical School and rose to Chief Resident. While doing his residency in New Haven, CT. Bob married Rosalind (Linda) Ferrucci in 1961 and together they raised five children who, with their families, survive him – Robert A. Merrell, III (Rob) and his two children Marina Somma and Robert A. Merrell, IV (Robbie); Diane Merrell White (husband Mark) and their two sons Alston and Alec; Christine Merrell and her daughter Caroline; Larry Merrell; and Matthew Merrell (wife Cari) and their four children Sean, Haley, Mac and Kira. Bob practiced medicine in Daytona Beach for 48 years. He paid no attention to self-promotion, keeping his focus on continual growth of his practice area and the quality of the care he provided. He was known as a compassionate, brilliant surgeon, and served as President of the medical staff at Halifax Hospital. He cared for more than fifty thousand patients, many of them for charity. Often, he checked on his patients’ progressive well-being for years after their formal treatment ended. A master carpenter, Bob spent thousands of hours building furniture for friends and family. He was an avid sportsman, lover of the outdoors, and an accomplished scuba diver, fisherman, sailor, aquarist and collector of tropical fish, water and snow skier, and motorcycle racer. He truly lived life to its fullest and enjoyed the company of those he cared about. Bob was well traveled, and visited Africa, Asia, Latin America, Alaska and Hawaii many times. Of course meeting and befriending many people around the world and creating lasting friendships was the main focus of his travels. His best friend in the animal world, Willie, was a Double Yellowhead Amazon parrot. Most of his friends were human, however, and all were interesting people of good character from all walks of life, most with an evolved sense of humor that Bob cherished. Bob is also survived by three siblings and their families: Jane and Larry Graham of Austin, TX; Mac and Sally Merrell of Raleigh, NC; and John and Joanne Merrell of Daytona Beach, FL. His sister the Rev. Kathy Glenn passed away six years ago, leaving her husband Wayne Glenn of Lake Texoma, Texas. Bob is also recently pre-deceased by his loving sister-in-law Gail Camputaro. A private gathering will be held to bless and spread his ashes in the ocean, followed by a celebration of his life at Oceanside Country Club on Sunday March 3, 2019 between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The family asks that you please wear casual brightly colored floral garments as he would have. Flowers are welcome and as an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to the Sweet Caroline Hero Fund through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to help end childhood cancer. You may make the donation at stbaldricks.org/hero-funds/sweetcaroline.
Posted in: Daytona Beach News-Journal
Posted on: 2019-02-20
Link to original obituary: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/news-journalonline/obituary.aspx?n=robert-alston-merrell&pid=191598626&fhid=18633