Walter Richard Merkel
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.