John Wendell Merrick, DVM passed away in the presence of his family on September 5, 2016.
Born December 6, 1929 in West Jefferson Ohio, he was a loving husband and devoted father of six children, grandfather of twelve and great grandfather of five. John displayed a deep and genuine sense of caring in all aspects of his life as a Veterinarian, community and social activist, civic organization supporter, and entrepreneur. The son of Andrew Clarence Merrick, DVM and Dorothy Elizabeth (Santee) Merrick, he shared his father’s and three uncles’ vocation in Veterinary Medicine. John was married for 56 years to his High School sweetheart, Carol Hough Merrick, who preceded him in death in 2006.
John Merrick showed his penchant for caring in many ways. He was a Charter Member and past President of the Kiwanis Club of Western Kenosha and a Charter member and past Vice President of the Kenosha Humane Society. He was the Past President of Meridian House (Kenosha), the Social Service Advisory Board (Kenosha) and the Kenosha Symphony Association. An avid art collector, painter and sculptor, he and Carol were active members of the Kenosha Art Association. In 2012 he published “The Veterinarian’s Son, My Seventy Five Years in Veterinary Medicine”, a compilation of stories involving the unique animals, people and events he experienced throughout his life and career.
After earning his B.S. degree in 1952 and his DVM in 1954 from the University of Illinois John worked for his father in Brookfield, IL before opening his own small animal practice in Kenosha WI in 1956. It was here at the Merrick Animal Hospital, that Dr. Merrick earned his reputation as a deeply caring, skilled and thoughtful doctor who went to great lengths to provide quality medical care with tender loving care – this extended to both his patients and their owners! Innovative in his approach to medicine, he was unafraid to be open to new ideas and medical therapies. John eventually specialized in animal dermatology, and opened several practices on his own and in collaboration with other professionals.
He and his wife Carol enjoyed a full and active life raising their six children and playing tennis, golf, skiing and swimming. They resided in a five-acre parcel of land they called “Lively Oaks”, known by the locals as “Merrick’s Woods”. At one end, bordering French Drive, was the animal hospital and on the other, the home they designed and built. This enabled Dr. Merrick to respond quickly (and at all hours of the night) to appointments and emergencies. In this scenic setting they were mindful to instill in their children a deep sense of community and responsibility to others.
As an entrepreneur, Dr. Merrick founded the Parkside Animal Hospital in 1972 (Kenosha), the Merrick Pet Wellness Clinic (Kenosha) in 1995 and the Animal Hospital of Oshkosh WI in 1997. He retired to Peachtree City, Georgia in 2001 where he was a member of the local Kiwanis Club, and enjoyed golf, book and poker clubs, and especially gardening. He became a Master Gardener and helped refurbish the Brookdale Memorial Garden, adding a greenhouse, hundreds of plants, a trestle and a “Bricks of Love” Memorial walkway. To honor his contribution, a perpetual fund is being set up to continue his vision of a beautiful garden that allows residents and visitors quiet solitude among nature.
A celebration of John’s life will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2016 from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Brookdale Roswell Senior Living complex located at 1000 Applewood Drive in Roswell, Ga. 30076.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to any of the following: Brookdale Memorial Garden c/o Brookdale Residence Association, 1000 Applewood Drive, Apt 204, Roswell, GA 30076; Noah’s Ark, 712 LG Griffin Road Locust Grove, Ga. 30248; Bright Dawn Center, 28372 Margaret Road, Coarsegold, Calif. 93614.
John was preceded in death by his wife Carol Hough Merrick, his daughter Peggy Merrick Auxier, and his sisters Margaret Merrick Scheffelin and Susan Merrick Creamer. He is survived by his brother Philip Byron Merrick and his children Dorothy, William, David, Byron and Ginger and their families.