Merrill was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 1, 1943. He moved frequently throughout his childhood due to his father’s military career. He was a self-described “Navy Brat.” He attended high school in San Diego, CA and graduated in 1961.
Merrill worked in various positions in the Bay Area, including the Santa Clara Fire Department. He married in 1971 and moved to Gilroy in 1976. He proudly earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree, built a thriving law office and practiced as an attorney for over 35 years in Gilroy. Merrill had a big heart and often did work pro-bono for those in need. In spite of his chosen vocation, Merrill was beloved by those who knew him both personally and professionally. He would often greet friends and clients with a wide grin and a terrible joke.
In his younger years he was an avid traveler who loved to visit historical sites and vacation in tropical climates. Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Mexico were among his favorite destinations. He was also an active member of the community volunteering his time for various community projects and fundraisers. His volunteer time was varied and included, but not limited to, heading the financial branch of the Gilroy Garlic Festival. No matter the circumstance in which he found himself, Merrill was an eternal optimist, choosing to see the bright side in life.
He has joined his father, Clarence “Red” Eugene Zimmershead and his mother, Hazel Josephine Zimmershead. Merrill is survived by his sisters Margaret Harmon and Hazel Zepeda and his children: Denise Gluhan, Michael Zimmershead, Matthew Zimmershead, Melody Gebhardt, Maxwell Zimmershead, and Megan Valenzuela, as well as 14 of his grandchildren.
Information regarding services is available on the Habings Family Funeral Home website. As per Merrill’s wishes, please dress for a Luau/BBQ, bring a story and a joke to share.