A true Texan and devout Christian, John Jerry Merchant (called Jerry by his family) was born in Dalhart, Texas, September 23, 1933, and grew up in Amarillo. He attended public schools in Amarillo through high school and went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas to finish his BA in History in 1955, as well as his Law Degree in 1958.
John practiced law for 21 years in Texas and then moved to the Pacific Northwest. He lived in Bellevue, Washington and Tacoma, Washington for 35 years, and had the joy of returning to Texas in 2014.
His forefathers were founders of Abilene and of First Baptist Church in Abilene. His daughter lived there also, so it seemed a natural spot for him. He was very happy to return to Texas with its hospitable people, its politics, its weather, the lovely Texas sky.
Full of fun, John was a lifelong learner, an Eagle Scout, avid reader, lover of nature and of Texas. He enjoyed bird watching, reading, HAM radio operations, wood carving, photography, and flying. He had an adventuresome spirit, enjoyed travel, loved his cabin at Eagle Nest, New Mexico, as well as the Aspen trees in Colorado.
He and his wife Kathy were married for 67 years, dearly loved their 6 children, 15 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren.
John was preceded in death by his first-born-son, Jack Merchant and by Shannon Merchant, a beloved granddaughter. He is survived by his wife Kathy, sons Rex Merchant and wife Susan, Tom Merchant and wife Holly, Robb Merchant and wife Julie, Mary Kate Merchant, Carolyn Flores and husband Jesse, as well as his fabulous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The family first began in the funeral business in 1933. The Hamil's legacy, beginning with the Elliott's to John and Jo Ann Hamil and now continuing with Robert and Karla Hamil, is to serve families in their time of need.