Merriam Joyce Dickson Rogers Profile Photo
1934 Merriam 2022

Merriam Joyce Dickson Rogers

June 13, 1934 — September 12, 2022

Bountiful, UT

Merriam Joyce Dickson Rogers (88) passed away on September 12, 2022, at her home in Bountiful, Utah. Merriam was born at home to Grace Merriam Toone and Bert Stoddard Dickson on June 13, 1934, in the small company town of Devil’s Slide, Utah. She was the third of five children and dearly loved her two teasing older brothers, Don and Ray, and her two little sisters, Diane and Connie. Her father worked as an industrial plumber at the Devil’s Slide cement plant while her mother, a talented homemaker and excellent cook, cared for the family. Together, they raised their children with the teachings of Jesus Christ and taught them to be kind, honest, loving, and hardworking.

Growing up in Devil’s Slide was very special. The town housed the families of the cement plant employees and was a close-knit community. Nobody locked their doors, the milkman came right into their homes and left bottles of milk in the refrigerator while they slept, and unlike the surrounding farming towns, Devil’s Slide had its own sewer system, a post office, drug store, doctor’s office, and tennis courts. When the farm kids from the outlying communities teased Merriam and her friends about the cement plant and the dust that spewed from its kiln, they replied with a sneering, “but we never smell of manure!”

Merriam was physically active and grew up roller skating all over town on the smooth sidewalks (an advantage of growing up in a town owned by a cement company) climbing trees, playing games like “Run Sheepie Run” and “Kick the Can'' with the neighbor children, and floating down the Weber River on inner tubes. She loved taking long walks with her father who would tell her fantastic stories of giants, little people who lived beneath the grass, and trees that could march down from the mountaintop. These stories kindled her imagination and unlocked the boundaries of fun and fantasy, leading Merriam to write many short stories, poems, road shows, and outlines for novels throughout her life. She enjoyed listening to Jack Benny and other comedy programs on the radio and wrote many comedy routines and scripts of her own. Her quick wit and sense of humor served her throughout her life bringing smiles and laughter to those around her.

Comedy also helped her cope with some very difficult experiences in her young life, like her beloved brother Don being severely wounded when his plane was shot down over Hungary during World War II, and when her mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer and wasn’t expected to live. She was overcome with grief and fear after seeing her dear mother barely clinging to life in the hospital after an experimental surgery to save her life. In a state of shock, Merriam went from the hospital to a movie matinee of “The Court Jester” with Danny Kaye. The audience was laughing so hard that she was able to sob throughout the movie without anyone noticing. By the end of the show, she was feeling more stable and was better able to deal with her situation. Her mother recovered, but she always had a special love for that movie that allowed her to grieve at a perilous time in her life. To this day it’s a favorite of her children and grandchildren.

Merriam was an excellent student and preferred hiding with a library book to doing her chores, much to the frustration of her mother. In addition to her academic achievements, she was a talented musician and athlete. She played first-chair cornet in her high school band and was selected to perform with the Utah All State High School Band. She was the team catcher for the Red Devil’s women’s softball team, and her father, a former minor league baseball player, was a great support to her when she was at bat and cheered her on at her games.

Merriam graduated from Morgan High School in 1952 and later attended the University of Utah on academic scholarship, working various jobs to pay for room and board. While serving as a chapter president of Lambda Delta Sigma, she became friends with Tom Rogers who was serving as the inter-chapter president. Their weekly meetings led to a close friendship, which grew as they wrote to each other weekly during Tom’s three-year mission to East Germany. This long-distance friendship ultimately served as a prelude to the romance that would follow. When Merriam completed college and earned her bachelor’s degree, Tom mailed her his Lambda Delta pin as a graduation present along with a proposal of marriage. Because this was done by mail, Merriam knew she was engaged to Tom about 3 weeks before he received her reply and knew that he was engaged to her. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on February 21, 1958, just 9 days after he returned from his mission.

Merriam worked as a teacher for the Granite School District first teaching seventh-grade speech classes and later teaching ninth-grade English. She was a clever teacher who used sneaky tactics to involve her students and encourage them to read. When her class was studying Ivanhoe, she picked up the book and in a very serious voice asked her students not to leave it lying around because she would be uncomfortable if their parents read it. Several students stayed up all night reading the book and were upset to discover that there were no dirty parts.

Merriam enjoyed teaching, but later turned her talents to homemaking once she and Tom started having children. Her greatest joy was her family, and she considered her seven children her precious treasures. She focused on being maternal over being domestic, and instead of cooking gourmet meals and being a meticulous housekeeper, she played with her kids, read to them, and made life fun. She was the glue that held the family together. Her children and grandchildren adored her and each of them had a special personal relationship with her. She rocked her grandbabies and read to them, attended concerts, sports games, plays, and special events. She was supportive, encouraging, and loving. There are no words to properly describe the indelible effect she had on each of their lives. This was clear as they gathered to be with her in her final days. She brought joy to all those around her with her kind words, caring actions, and humor.

Merriam was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and found great strength in her faith. She touched the lives of countless people over the years as she served in a variety of callings, loving and serving those around her. From 1993 to 1996, she and Tom presided over the Russia St. Petersburg Mission. She dearly loved the members and missionaries they associated with there. In 2000, she and Tom traveled to China with the BYU China Teachers Program and spent a year teaching English courses to graduate students at Peking University in Beijing. Merriam loved her students, and they loved her. From 2004 to 2005, they served a second mission in the Stockholm Sweden temple assisting the Russian saints who came there to receive their temple blessings.

Despite her many talents, her keen intellect, and her wit and wisdom, Merriam always left the spotlight for others and served quietly in the background while praising and encouraging those around her. She put people at ease and was welcoming, approachable, non-judgmental, supportive, loving, and always full of humor. She opened her home and her heart to people from all walks of life and made friends wherever she went. She was cherished, honored, and respected by everyone who knew her. In her quiet, unassuming way, she accomplished those things that matter most–she loved people and changed lives.

Merriam is survived by her husband, Thomas Franklyn Rogers, her children and their spouses Grace & James Anderegg, Kyra & Patrick Dunshee, Krista Mortensen, Tom & Becky Rogers, Karren & Mike Noel, Mary & Jared Memmott, and Will Rogers. She was delighted to be the grandmother to 42 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sisters Diane Myrup and Connie Dickson and many adoring nieces and nephews. In death, she has been reunited with parents, her brothers Don and Ray Dickson, and her grandsons Adam Mortensen and Cole Dunshee.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 17th, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. at the Bountiful 15th Ward building located at 1250 South Main Street, Bountiful Utah. Viewings will take place on Friday, September 16th, 2022, from 6-8 p.m. and on Saturday, September 17th, 2022, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the same location. Interment will take place at the Bountiful City Cemetery.

Services will be streamed live on the Russon Brothers Mortuary Facebook page and on this obituary page.  The live stream will begin about 10-15 minutes prior to the service and will be posted below.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Merriam Joyce Dickson Rogers, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Viewing

Friday, September 16, 2022

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Viewing

Saturday, September 17, 2022

11:30am - 12:45 pm (Mountain time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, September 17, 2022

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

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