Kenneth Haven Merrell

By From page A4 | June 07, 2014

Kenneth Merrell obit photo

Aug.28, 1940 — May 28, 2014

Kenneth Haven Merrell passed away on May 28, 2014, at his home in Fairfield, after a nearly two-year battle with cancer. He was 73.

Kenneth was born in Lubbock, Texas, in 1940 to Aubrey and Billie Merrell, both who preceded him in death.

From 1961 to 1968, he served in the Navy, largely working as a nuclear reactor operator on submarines. After leaving the Navy, he attended UC Davis, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. He paid his way through college by working as a roughneck on oil rigs in the summers. Upon graduation, he went to work as a nuclear engineer for the Department of the Navy at Mare Island Naval Shipyard from 1971 to 1995.

Shortly after retirement, Kenneth decided to pursue a second career, teaching math. This latter career brought him great fulfillment. From 1995 to 2001, he taught at Green Valley Middle School and after retirement continued to work as a substitute teacher, mostly at Rodriguez High School.

Kenneth was an avid sports fan all his life. His various hobbies included golf, bridge and learning foreign languages, particularly Italian. He was a big fan of the Rodriguez High School wrestling team and loved to attend all their meets. He also greatly enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s sporting events.

Kenneth was a very active member of Holy Spirit Church, where he served as an usher and a eucharistic minister.

Outgoing and gregarious, he sustained a ceaselessly cheerful attitude and zest for life, infectious to all those around him. Kenneth was happiest when surrounded by his family, and likewise brought them great joy.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Linda Merrell; brother, Randy (Lynn) Merrell; sons, William (Lorna) Merrell and Richard (Tammi) Merrell; daughter, Katherine Merrell; stepsons, David (DeeAnna) Cossu, and Brian (Tracy) Cossu; stepdaughter, Melinda Cossu; grandchildren, Samantha, Dylan, Ryan, Karoline, Jack, Taylor, Bridget, Christopher and Matthew.

He was preceded in death by his mother, father and sister, Lynda (John) Duncan.

A viewing will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with a recital of the rosary at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 8, 2014, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 1050 N. Texas St., Fairfield, Calif. Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Monday, June 9, 2014, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Father Michael Downey will officiate both services. Burial will be in Rockville Cemetery.

Arrangements under the care of Bryan-Braker Funeral Home, www.bryanbraker.com.

Nancy Green


Discussion | 14 comments

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  • Sue KinderJune 01, 2014 - 11:36 am

    Ken was one of the best substitutes we ever had at Green Valley.....he took an interest in the students and always made sure he had the lesson down......you will truly be missed and thank you for the years at Green Valley....

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  • Lona Ray AdamsJune 01, 2014 - 12:43 pm

    Ken Merrell was not only a friend, but one of the kindest and most gentle men I have known. He was an honest, hard-working teacher colleague who I had the pleasure of working with at Green Valley and at Rodriguez High School. He was respected by students and known to be a wonderful teacher and man. He will be missed by many.

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  • Aimee ResnickJune 01, 2014 - 7:50 pm

    I was so blessed to have known Ken. He came to my rescue so many times and covered my classes at RHS when I was in a jam. Ken helped out when I was on maternity leave and for other family emergencies. Ken cared about the students and would challenge them to be healthy and use their heads. He would challenge the kids to push up contests (and Ken would always win) and challenges of the mind. He always would bring a sack lunch and an apple for a snack. Ken would always check on me after I had been out sick to make sure I was feeling better. The students, as well as the teachers loved Ken. The students would beg me to get Mr. Merrell if I was going to be out, but he was in high demand so I couldn't always grant their request. He was a great man and an amazing teacher and he will be missed!

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  • Carl B. KoonJune 01, 2014 - 1:20 pm

    I was a substitute teacher for Ken on numerous occasions at Green Valley Middle School. Ken and I became very good friends. For several years after Ken retired from teaching and also became a substitute teacher he stopped by my home on his walks, pulled a few of my oranges, and we discussed our teaching days. I will miss Ken and may he rest in peace.

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  • Jason KnowlesJune 01, 2014 - 6:26 pm

    One of my all-time favorite colleagues and an absolute rock star of a math teacher. He could teach a special ed kid struggling in pre-algebra or an AP Calculus whiz kid and not miss a beat. We lost a great man today. RIP Kenney Boy.

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  • Don Delos SantosJune 01, 2014 - 7:53 pm

    Mr. Merrell was my algebra teacher back in middle school. I hated math but I enjoyed his class. Even a decade later he would still greet my sister and I at church like we sat in his class the day before. Mr. Merrell's the man! May he rest in peace.

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  • Blair GrinolsJune 01, 2014 - 7:56 pm

    I worked with Ken at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard from 1968 until 1994, when I retired. He was one of my dearest friends. Always a thoughtful guy to be around. He will be missed dearly by all of us. Blair Grinols, Eagle Point, OR

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  • mathew zittelmanJune 01, 2014 - 8:11 pm

    Mr. Merrell was an outstanding substitute teacher. He was a sub for many of my classes. He always had a smile and always welcomed students with genuine kindness and respect. I remember sitting through what I thought was gonna be a boring class, and seeing him I knew that wasn't gonna be true. He made class fun. He told jokes and shared many great stories. I also remember him coming in to o Reillys when I started working there. He needed a light bulb. So I rang him up and I told him I would even go out and install it for him. Upon completion he shook my hand and handed me a $20 bill. I told him no its ok. He insisted. It was that act of kindness that put a smile on my face and got me thru my day. He will definitely be missed by the many lives he impacted. Im proud to have had the chance to know him. Rest in peace Mr. Merrell

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  • Josefina ValentinJune 02, 2014 - 6:04 am

    Mr. Merrell was a great teacher he went far and beyond to help me out in math and to get me to enjoy it. He always made the class fun for everyone thank you Mr. Merrell for all your help you impacted so many people and made a difference. Thank you and may you rest in peace God bless you.

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  • LisaJune 02, 2014 - 7:23 am

    Mr. Merrell was one of the best teachers that I ever had! He was understanding and very patient. I don't think there was a kid that ever failed his class. He will be greatly missed by me and everyone else that got to know him! He's definitely not a person you would ever forget. RIP Mr. Merrell.

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  • Keila KaciJune 02, 2014 - 7:52 am

    Mr.Merrell was such an amazing person. All four of the kids in my family had him as a sub and every time he saw me he would ask how my siblings were, but he always remembered that I was a different person than my siblings and cared just as much about how I was doing. I always appreciated his calm and gentle demeanor, especially in such a hectic environment, and he will be missed by the entire Kaci family.

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  • Monica and Seth BrownJune 02, 2014 - 8:23 pm

    the Brown family, Seth, Alicia, Monica wish to convey our sympathy at the passing of Ken. I worked with ken at green valley in the math department. it was a pleasure to work with an intelligent, interesting and kind man. the students loved him. when i was in kindergarten, ken taught me how to play card games and would play with me in his spare time and in those memories I remember him to be a good man.

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  • Christina s.June 07, 2014 - 6:22 pm

    I had Mr. Merrell as a substitute teacher at green valley middle school many times. It was a joy to walk in the class room to find him as our substitute. He had a gentle soul, kind heart, and a contagious smile. Not only did he know how to teach but enjoyed doing it. Students always got along with him and they enjoyed how patient he was. He will always be remembered and his effort to make every student feel included will never be forgotten. He was a wonderful person, it was an honor having him as a teacher.

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  • John RogersJune 08, 2014 - 12:16 am

    I had the pleasure of working with Ken at Green Valley Middle School. Ken was an excellent teacher who was highly respected by students and staff. I always appreciated his kind and gentle manner. Ken will be missed by all of us who were fortunate to know him. Rest in peace Ken.

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