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Walter Richard Merkel

Merkel Walter

Walter Richard Merkel, age 83, of Goodyear, Arizona passed away on October 25, 2020. He was born December 4, 1936 to Walter V. and Dorothea (Groenke) Merkel in Oak Park, Illinois.

Originally from Maywood, Illinois, Walt was a fan of Chicago sports. He graduated from Michigan State University, where he commissioned into the United Sates Air Force through the ROTC program. He went on to serve in the Air Force for 22 years, including multiple overseas assignments, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He then retired for a second time from the Property and Casualty division of CIGNA after 19 years.  Upon being stationed at Luke AFB, he moved to Arizona in 1976, and resided in both Glendale and eventually Goodyear.  Walt enjoyed traveling throughout the country/world, and also had deep appreciation for nature and wildlife conservation.  He was a skiing enthusiast through much of his adult life, with favorite spots across Europe and Colorado, as well as being an avid tennis player.  In his later years, he became a dedicated member of the Rock-Steady Boxing group as he battled Parkinson’s disease, which ultimately took his life.

A devoted husband and father, he is survived by his spouse of 55 years, Jean, of Goodyear, AZ; his daughter, Kristin Merkel of Phoenix, AZ; and his son, Tyler Merkel of Chantilly, VA. Walt is preceded in death by his parents and sister, Lani Harrington.

He will be interred at National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona (AZ Veterans Memorial Cemetery) with military honors, in Phoenix, AZ on 4 December 2020 at 1030am. Due to the cemetery’s Covid restrictions on attendance, the service will be private.

8 Comments on “Walter Richard Merkel

  1. I am heartbroken for y’all. He will be missed by all. Praying for peace for all of you.
    Love Sarah

  2. Walt was such a sweet man! He certainly loved his family!💕

  3. It was a privilege for me and my family to know Walt. He left us a gift, one of inspiration to be brave, principled, articulate, dignified, adventurous and family-centered. He leaves a wonderful family who have these same qualities. May they now continue to inspire others.

  4. We enjoyed many holidays and luncheons with the wonderful Merkel family for over 40 years ! We love them all and feel the void already! Walt will be at the same Cemetery as my folks! LOVE 💕 and PRAYERS!

  5. Jean and Family

    We have enjoyed you and your wonderful family for over 40 years, as neighbors and dear friends! Walt will be missed terribly and our hearts go out to you all!!!💕♥️❤️

  6. Jean and Walt Merkel were the first American family to befriend me when I arrived in NYC in 1968. My first out of town trip was to Smithsburg, MD, to ostensibly visit an English friend who had married Jean’s brother. The Boswell family welcomed me warmly and we have been friends ever since. When the children grew up, Jean, after year’s of schooling and obtaining her degrees, went out to work. When she went to conventions, I was frequently invited to meet up with them and keep Walt company. He and I had many sightseeing trips together in DC, San Diego, Atlanta and San Antonio. I also visited them in Virginia, Colorado and Arizona over all these years. I have and do treasure their friendship and I know Walt will be sorely missed.

    May the Lord bless and keep you all. Love, Wendy

  7. Though many years ago…in the mid 1960’s, I will never forget the many ski trips, adventures and dining experiences with Jean and Walt. Walt was always supportive of Jean and also her many friends. He was a person of integrity and kindness. I know he will be greatly missed by all of his family and friends. Sending love and prayers to Jean, Kristin and Tyler.

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