On July 26, 2023, at the age of 54, Phillip Ray Merrill was welcomed into Heaven by his older brother, Joseph Merrill. Phillip’s family and loved ones rallied at his side to pray with him and hold him in his last hours.
Phillip was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, and friend. He had a passion for life and lived life to the fullest. Earlier this year, Phillip and his wife, Lauri Grandia Merrill, embarked on their latest adventure, moving to Hong Kong for a 3-year work assignment with Swire Coca-Cola. Phillip was an avid cyclist. He was out on a long bike ride training for an upcoming 4-day race in Thailand, when he was involved in a traffic accident. After 5 days in critical condition, 5 surgeries, and a Herculean effort by both Phillip and his medical team, Phillip completed his final ride in this life.
Phillip Ray Merrill, son of Joseph Willard and Marjorie Farnsworth Merrill, was born on April 28, 1969, in Provo, Utah. He grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming and was the second born of 5 children: Joseph Merrill, Douglas (Kathy) Merrill, Allison (Corey) Smith, and Daniel (Song) Merrill. Phillip was a gift of support, love, loyalty, integrity, compassion, and humor to his family and all who knew him. He was a devoted husband to his wife, Lauri, the love of his life, his best friend, and his lifelong partner of 31 years. Phillip and Lauri’s marriage was an example of true companionship and Christ-like love. The two of them were true equals and loved adventuring through life together. They were sealed for eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple and cherish their covenants and the knowledge that their marriage will last into the eternities. Lauri looks forward to the day they will be reunited in Heaven.
Phillip was a wonderful and loving father and grandfather to his 3 children and 2 grandchildren. His son, James Merrill, married to Kym Goodsell, and father of Emmeline and Arthur, cares for his family with the love and passion learned from his father, Phillip. His daughter, Lauren Passey, married to Cameron Passey, shares her father’s fire, competitive nature, and fierce loyalty as a protector of her loved ones. His daughter, Natalie Merrill, takes on her father’s ambitious and adventurous spirit as she moves to the United Kingdom to further her education. Phillip is a knight in shining armor to his daughters, a mentor and friend to his son, and a loving grandpa to Em and baby Arthur.
Phillip’s life reflected his values of hard work, family unity, service, honesty, eternal perspective, and covenants. He was known for his zest for life and witty sense of humor (despite the fact that he never repeated his jokes). No matter what his interests were, Phillip was “all in.” He excelled at basketball, golf, running, and his current passion of cycling. He enjoyed racing on teams in Colorado and was looking forward to the cycling opportunities in Hong Kong. Phillip had a remarkable “build it and fix it” mentality, whether it was building his family or building a home for his family. He was stalwart in his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Phillip has a love of God and Jesus Christ. He faithfully served a 2-year church service mission to the Japan, Tokyo South Mission. He was a strong priesthood holder in his home and gave service in many capacities in the church. Phillip spent many years working with the youth and Young Men and was a great mentor in leading them to Christ. His strength and testimony were a solid foundation for his family and those he served with.
Phillip was a proud Utah State University alum (“Go Aggies! Go Aggies! Hey, hey, hey!”). Following his graduation, he was a devoted professional man and worked tirelessly to provide for his family. He held corporate and field positions in strategy, marketing, and operations while at Sweets Candy Company, RW4 Marketing, Kellogg’s, and Coca-Cola. He ultimately joined Swire Coca-Cola in Draper, Utah and progressed to run key operations throughout Colorado. He and Lauri loved the opportunity to move to Hong Kong and work as the General Manager of Key Accounts for Swire Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
We, as Phillip’s family, would like to give special thanks to the ICU and medical teams at the Prince of Wales hospital in Sha Tin, Hong Kong for their exceptional, compassionate care. We would also like to thank Swire Coca-Cola in Hong Kong for their extreme generosity and support during this challenging time and for helping to gather our family around Phillip during his last days. Swire showed up for us in a way that can never be repaid. Another thank you to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Hong Kong branches for the support, love, and friendship shown to our family. We have felt all of your love from physically holding us up in the hospital to emotionally supporting us with your kind and loving words. And finally, a thank you to all our friends and loved ones who joined us in prayer and fasting throughout the world as we asked God to show His hand and provide miracles during this time of loss. You all will forever have a special place in our hearts.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 19, 2023, at the Centerville North Stake Center, 1461 North Main Street, Centerville, Utah where a viewing will be held Friday evening from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and Saturday morning from 9:30-10:30 a.m. prior to services. Interment will be at the Farmington City Cemetery.
Services will be streamed live on the Russon Mortuary & Crematory 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.
Services will also be streamed live on Zoom at this link: https://zoom.us/j/96136149737