Dr. Herbert Merrill II, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, (Ret.), 76 of Parker, Colorado, transitioned from this life on March 25, 2018. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, mentor and friend. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Mary A. Canty Merrill of the home; son, Herbert Josef (Jennifer) Merrill III of Denver, Colorado; brother, Willie (Lucy) Merrill of Buffalo, New York; and two grandchildren, Herbert Josef Merrill IV and Jackson Berl Merrill of Denver, Colorado.
Herb was born in Sandersville, Mississippi in March 1942 to the late Herbert and Willie Mae Merrill. He was predeceased by a sister, Doris Merrill McCree of Laurel, Mississippi.
The youngest of three children, he developed an early interest in learning, photography and music (specifically the trombone). Herb graduated from Oak Park High School in 1960 and went on to college at the University of Buffalo (UB). While at UB, he studied Sociology and joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). His tenure at UB was interrupted by the beginning of his military career as he opted to attend Officer Candidate School. Afterwards, he served as a training instructor for the Delta Company-Transportation OCS, while stationed at Ft. Eustis, Virginia, and later in Stuttgart, Germany. After valiantly completing a tour in Vietnam, he returned stateside to complete his studies at UB and begin a career in psychology and education. He would return to active duty with the U.S. Army in 1992 to serve during Desert Storm, with his last active duty assignment being Chief of Staff of the Chemical Biological Defense Command.
Herb was a lifelong learner, which was core to his career in psychology and education. In addition to his undergraduate degree he earned two master’s degrees from UB in Psychology (Counseling and Rehabilitation). He went on to earn a doctoral degree in Adult Education from Columbia University.
Since the late 1970’s, Herb served as both a counselor and professor within the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Towards the end of his tenure with SUNY, he served as the President of the Faculty Council of Community Colleges, leading the 12,500 faculty members of SUNY’s Community College system. In addition, he was a former member of the National Council of Higher Education’s Executive Committee and the Higher Education Reauthorization Act Committee, where he helped to develop strategies to restore funding for higher education in the United States.
Herb relocated to Parker, Colorado in 2004. In Parker, he established Merrill Consulting Associates (an organizational consulting firm where he worked in partnership with his wife, Mary), continued his career in education as a professor, and spearheaded numerous community development initiatives. He also served as a board member of Mental Health Colorado and Hep C Connection, as well as in various capacities with the American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association, and the Academy of Management. He was a faithful member of New Hope Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado.
Herb had a passion for photography, and as he traveled the world captured compelling photos of the places he visited. He was also a camping enthusiast, taking annual road trips around the country. His greatest joy in life was being a father and grandfather. His dedication to teaching and helping younger generations was put on full display when it came to his family. He was an endless source of support and guidance for his son over the years. Whether it was sports, music, arts, career or family, Herb was a constant pillar of strength in his son’s life.
In the last five years, Herb’s heart was overwhelmed with joy whenever he spent time with his two grandsons. He could often be spotted attending karate, hockey practice, a basketball or a soccer game. Herb loved photographing his grandsons and played hours of knee hockey with them in the basement of their home.
Herb will always be remembered for his courage, ambition and willingness to forge new paths, his love of learning and teaching, his generosity towards those facing adversity, and the kindness and love he shared with his family.
Visitation will be held from 3:00-6:00pm at Drinkwine Family Mortuary in Littleton, Colorado on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. A memorial service will be held at 10:30am on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at Drinkwine Family Mortuary, followed by a funeral ceremony with Military Honors at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.
In lieu of flowers, Herb’s family will be donating to organizations that he supported in education and mental health. To contribute to the family memorial fund, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/celebrating-dr-herbert-merrill.