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  • Fairbury News staff

Obituary: Merrill




Gloria Joan Merrill (nee Kelson), 89, of Naperville, died Sunday, November 8, 2020 at Edward Hospital, Naperville.


A public graveside service will be held at 2:30pm, Saturday, November 14, 2020 at Graceland Cemetery, Fairbury, IL, with Pastor Bill Bryan officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Grace United Methodist Women c/o Grace United Methodist Church, Naperville.


Joan was born June 22, 1931 in Pontiac, a daughter of Bernard Oliver and Margaret June Wade Kelson. She married Frank Johnson Merrill on October 3, 1959 in Chicago. He preceded her in death.


Surviving are her children, Linda (John) Kennan of Midland, MI, Frank (Sandra) Merrill of Warrensburg, MO, Jeanie (David) Nippa of Dublin, OH, and Marla (Carl) Garrison of Lake in the Hills, IL; grandchildren, Meryl (Scott) Hajek, David and James Kennan, Jessica, Jennifer, James and Joy Nippa; one great-grandson, Tavo Hajek; one sister, Jeannette Bahler and one sister-in-law, Sharon Kelson, both of Fairbury; one brother, David Kelson; and many nieces, nephews and their families.


She was also preceded in death by her parents, brother, Bud Kelson, and brother-in-law, Ralph Bahler.


Joan graduated from Bradley University School of Nursing. As a registered nurse, she practiced at the University of Illinois Hospital at Chicago during the 1950’s and 60’s, becoming the Director of Nursing. While there, she was instrumental in efforts to provide supplies for international medical missions; leading to a lifetime of dedication to the service of others. She married Frank Merrill, a Chicago trial attorney in 1959. After raising her family, she went to work for DuPage Senior Services and was the Director of Food and Nutrition at Martin Avenue, Naperville. She was an extraordinary caregiver.


Joan was an active and devoted member of her church. She was a phenomenal grandmother and her grandchildren were the lights of her life. She had a smile for everyone and loved to laugh and to share a good joke. She filled any room with joy and love. She will be dearly missed.

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