Cover photo for Douglas Lawrence Merrill's Obituary
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1960 Douglas 2023

Douglas Lawrence Merrill

March 24, 1960 — November 24, 2023

Orem

Douglas Lawrence Merrill, 63, of Orem, passed away peacefully while surrounded by his family on Friday, November 24, 2023, following health complications. Doug was born on March 24, 1960, to Leo Merrill and Marie Ricks Merrill in Albany, New York.

From his earliest years, Doug loved learning tricks of all kinds, mastering juggling, pogo-sticking, unicycling, and bicycle wheelies. He was passionate about swimming and could hold his breath for several minutes. His infectious enthusiasm for acquiring new skills was matched only by his dedication to practicing them until he achieved proficiency.

After graduating from Orem High School in 1978, Doug was called to serve in the Taiwan Taipei Mission where he enjoyed learning Chinese. Due to illness, he was reassigned to the Washington Seattle Mission and then to the Salt Lake City North Mission where he worked in the mission office for a few months before his honorable release. Spending several months in the hospital during this time permanently changed him, as did the chronic illnesses that followed him throughout his life.

Doug studied electronics at Utah Technical College, then was employed by several tech companies throughout Utah. Despite his brief tenure as an employee, he was entrusted by Broadcast Television Systems to install expensive broadcast equipment in the Soviet Union in 1985. His patient attentiveness helped him navigate a sticky situation during the installation.

In 1987, Doug met Lisa Sudweeks when he was assigned as her home teacher. Doug and Lisa were married later that year on December 18, in the Ogden Utah Temple. They went on to have six children together; Bryan, Tiffany, Curtis, Nicole, Melanie, and Jeffrey. Doug was their most avid cheerleader—when asked about his hobbies, he always responded “my six children.” He attended every sporting event, Band Concert, Choir Concert, Dance Recital, Science Fair, and Marching Band competition, cheering them on.

While some have green thumbs with plants, it was said that Doug had a ‘black’ thumb with cars. He could always get them running. A lifelong fascination with things that "go around" led him to work extensively with engines, motors, 3D printers, epoxy, saws, drills, angle grinders, Dremel tools, nuts, bolts, and more. One of Doug’s last projects was to restore a 5-foot wooden propeller his dad Leo had hand-carved, then mount it on his drill to see how fast he could make it spin. His ability to dismantle and reconstruct complex appliances, electronics, and machines proved invaluable in repairing broken objects and building new creations. It seemed as if inanimate objects would tell him what was wrong and how to fix it.

Doug enjoyed crafts such as woodworking, latch hook, crewel embroidery, sewing, loom hats, and more. Every project demonstrated his meticulous attention to detail, with amazing results. He also loved music. In his 20s, he bought a piano and stereo system, so that between the two there would always be music at home. He played the piano and trumpet, and inspired his children to embrace and love music.

Doug faced his numerous health challenges with resilience and grace. Rather than allowing his pain to define him, he used his experiences to comfort those around him. He often said that, because he had endured so much pain, he had a better understanding of how to help others. Living with illness gave him an unparalleled sense of Christlike empathy with those who suffer.

Doug never hesitated to lend a helping hand, whether it meant stopping on the side of the road to assist someone, giving a late-night blessing, visiting someone in the hospital, or providing comfort to those in pain.

Doug served faithfully in all his callings for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as a Gospel Doctrine teacher, Young Men Leader, Elders Quorum President, Sunday School President, and for many years as the Stake Technology Specialist – a calling he loved dearly and took very seriously. Doug spent countless hours assembling and improving technology to ensure Stake Conference and other broadcasts ran smoothly so those tuning in could be spiritually fed. Doug's unwavering faith in Christ was a cornerstone of his life, and he regularly shared his powerful testimony at family gatherings.

Doug took all his jobs seriously and was a dedicated provider for his family. He spent the last fifteen years working for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, most recently as an Information Security Engineer. In April 2023, after worsening health left him unable to work, Doug learned to make hats on a loom. He completed three in his first week, and continued making them as often as he could. He invented original stitches, devised unique methods to make stripes, and created endless color combinations. He completed over 30 hats before he passed, some of which were gifted to his children and grandchildren.

Despite all his challenges, he encouraged others to keep pushing forward through theirs. His deep love for his wife and family was evident in every sincere "I love you" he shared at the end of each phone call. Doug embodied undaunted optimism. He often said, “Everything will work out in the end, and if it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end.” We hope to carry on his legacy of making good out of tough situations.

Doug is survived by his wife, Lisa, of Orem; his six children: Bryan (Lindsay) of Monrovia, California; Tiffany (Marc) of Pleasant Grove, Utah; Curtis (Kelly) of Sterling, Virginia; Nicole (Max) of Salt Lake City, Utah; Melanie of Orem, Utah; and Jeffrey of Orem, Utah, and nine grandchildren: Olivia, Lincoln, Savannah, Carter, Malachi, McKay, Miles, Enoch and Leo. He is also survived by his siblings: David (Nanette) of Alpine, Utah; Lorraine Reynolds of Orem, Utah; Robert (Katreena) of Lehi, Utah; and his in-laws, Dean and Carolyn Sudweeks of Bountiful, Utah. His parents Leo and Marie preceded him in death earlier this year.

Doug's favorite color was orange. If he could choose the color of something, that's what he chose. Feel free to wear orange in his honor.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, December 9, 2023, at 11:00 am in the Orem Park 5th Ward LDS Chapel located at 195 West 300 South, Orem, Utah. A viewing for family and friends will be held on Friday evening, December 8 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm and on Saturday morning from 9:30 to 10:30 am at the church. The burial will be in the Orem City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider becoming a blood donor in Doug’s honor as many units of blood were used to try and save his life. You may also donate to his children’s education as they work to complete their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Condolences for the family may be expressed on this page.

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