Obituary of Hymonda Merkel
After 73 of living her profession of faith and belief in Jesus, her Savior, Hymonda (Moran) Merkel was welcomed into His arms on Sunday (her favorite day of the week), April 10, 2022 at the age of 86. Visitation will be Sunday, April 17, from 4-6 p.m. at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road. A celebration of her life will be at Southern Hills Church of Christ, 3666 Buffalo Gap Road, Monday, April 18 at 10:00 a.m. with Steve Ridgell, Barbara Pinkston, and Robert Oglesby officiating. Burial will follow at Elmwood Cemetery. Services are under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road.
Born in Jones County Texas, near Anson, on March 19, 1936, Hymonda (Hi’-monda) and her parents soon moved to Abilene, where she lived until her death. She always cherished her name because her father chose it to honor a lady who cared for the men in a CCC camp during the depression. She was known by her Aunt Fonda as Feisty Hysti and when grandchildren came, she became everyone’s Hysti. She attended elementary school at Travis Elementary, junior high at South Junior (Jefferson Middle School), and then attended Wylie during high school. She enjoyed the purple and gold by participating in the pep squad as the bass drummer. Her class of 1954 has continued to stay in touch.
As a young girl, Hymonda worked at the Metro Theater on Butternut and during college, sold jewelry and later worked in accounts at Thornton’s Department Store. While attending Abilene Christian College, Hymonda shared her typewriter with her friend who in turn, shared her car. They and the car made many visits to Casey’s Drive-In. Casey’s is where a young airman, named Bill Merkel and his friend hopped in the backseat to chat with these two young ladies. Hymonda was smitten with the blue eyes in her rearview mirror, but, smitten as she was, it was important to her that the man she married be a believer. Bill chose Jesus and Hymonda, and they were married August 10, 1957, celebrating 64 years this last August. They welcomed their first daughter, Trina Lou in 1959.
Hymonda received her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1958 and later earned her Master of Science in Counseling in 1970. After graduating from ACC, Hymonda received her first teaching job at Wylie ISD, where she worked as the librarian and cheer sponsor. It was at Wylie she discovered she was pregnant with her second child and was eventually “let go” because it was inappropriate in the day to be “showing” in the classroom. In May of 1961, she and Bill welcomed their baby Traci Lyn. With a raving recommendation, Hymonda was hired by Abilene ISD to open the new Mann Junior High, teaching reading and later becoming one of the school’s counselors. After a combined 42 years in the education business, she retired and loved every minute of picking up the grandkids from school and playing bridge.
Hymonda and Bill were charter members of Southern Hills Church of Christ which was originally located at 12th and Chestnut. During the many years, she worked alongside her husband to help the growing group of youth and later was his support while he served as an elder. She taught the high school girl’s class (and her infamous every-4th-year-lesson), and later led the Women’s 2 class. She also assisted elementary and middle schoolers with their Bible Bowl competition. She loved studying God’s Word and preparing for her ladies’ class and in 2013 took a trip with the ladies to encourage God’s work in Mathare, Kenya and spread some PB&J.
Hysti loved everything to do with family and was a strong, faithful and supportive encourager. She was Mom, Hysti, and to many, an adoptive mom. Her wise advice, counseling skills, and strong faith helped her girls focus on the important things in life and face the mountains and the valleys. She always spread joy from the moment you met her.
She is preceded in death by her husband, William (Bill) Merkel in October 2021; parents, Frank and Mattie Moran; and son-in-law, Kelly Ostlien.
Hymonda is survived by her daughters Trina Ostlien and husband Tony Yandell, and Traci and husband Tim Yandell; grandchildren, Makaley and Kauy Ostlien; sister, Fonda (Moran) Winter; niece, Brandi Mixon and husband Frank; great-niece, Katie Holland and husband Phillip; Cyrina Sanchez, her devoted and loved caregiver for the past year; and Wendy Holmes, who also gave loving care to her. Hymonda is also survived by her “adopted” daughters Suzie Sims, Jenny Oglesby, Emily Schonerstedt, and Marlis Doud
Since August, Hymonda and the girls made some special friends that gave great care to her and we are thankful for the love they showered on her: Hendrick Hospice nurse Kathy; nurses Ellen, Jennifer, Marisol and Cameron; CNA’s Destinee, Eddie, Kay, Misty, Shasta, and Cristina; and, Toni, her personal chef (according to Hysti). You loved our mom, gave us respite, and cared for our mom with compassion until the end. She loved you all.
Pallbearers will be Kauy Ostlien, Tim Yandell, Tony Yandell, Gary Boyd, Dr. Jeffrey Edwards, and Jordan Phillips. Honorary pallbearers are those members of the Mann Clan who taught with Hymonda over her 40 years as a Mann Falcon.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to your choice of Abilene Hospice agencies, Big Brothers Big Sisters in Abilene, or Mathare Kenya C.A.L.M. and PB&J Fund ℅ Southern Hills Church of Christ.
Who we are:
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.
Phone: (325) 692-2232
6449 Buffalo Gap Rd.
Abilene, Texas 79606