Obituary of Dennis A. Merriman
Dennis A. Merriman, age 90, previously of Chicago, IL, Wausau, WI and Bradenton, FL, passed away peacefully from natural causes on Sunday, March 14, 2021. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clifford and Gertrude Sammons Merriman, and his sister, Maryal “Terry” (Richard) Weldon. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Gloria; two children, Shaun (Wendy) Merriman of Sarasota, FL and Denise (Paul) Kane of Cypress, TX; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Dennis was born and raised in Chicago, IL. After graduating from high school, he immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army, completed basic training at Fort Campbell, KY and then graduated from Jump School in Yamoto, Japan where he became part of the distinguished “K” Company of the 187th Airborne Paratroopers Division, also known as the “Rakkasans.” While fighting in North Korea, “Mutt”, as he was affectionally known, made two combat jumps behind enemy lines. He also received several medals and awards, including a Purple Heart, prior to his honorable discharge in 1951. He could spot an “Airborne” patch a block away and could talk for hours about his love for the Army and his Country.
After his service in the Army, Dennis returned to Chicago to work at his uncle Walter Mack’s automobile dealership, spending nearly 40 years in the industry in both Illinois and Wisconsin.
In 1972, Dennis moved his family to Wausau, WI and spent 29 years in the community. He was a volunteer fireman and was awarded the prestigious “Firefighter of the Year” award in 1975. After retiring from the automobile business in 1992, he found passion in buying, restoring, and selling rifles. He truly loved traveling and participating in organized gun shows throughout Central and Northern Wisconsin and later in Southwest Florida.
Upon his wife’s retirement from banking in 2001, the couple moved to Bradenton, FL to be closer to family. When he wasn’t working, his love for soldiering was evident with his continued volunteerism with the VFWs and American Legions in both Wausau, WI and Bradenton, FL, and at the Sarasota National Cemetery. Most recently, they lived in Texas to spend time with their daughter, Denise, and her family.
Dennis certainly touched anyone who knew him with his humor and his smile. His wartime stories will continue to live in the hearts of his children and grandchildren for years to come. His love and unwavering passion for his family, friends, community, and fellow Rakkasans will forever define his legacy.
A private Celebration of Life and a Memorial Service at the Sarasota National Cemetery is planned with Jennings Funeral Home Officiating. Memorial Contributions may be made to: “The Kirby Stewart American Legion Post 24, 2000 75th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34209.”To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dennis Merriman, please visit Tribute Store