Robert Lee Merrill
August 31, 1933 ~ May 26, 2022
Robert Lee Merrill, D.D.S., 88, passed away at home surrounded by family on Thursday, May 26, 2022 from complications due to a broken leg suffered while skiing in March.
He was born on August 31, 1933 to Harry Lee Merrill and Ella Knowles Everton in Salt Lake City, UT. He and his family moved to Ogden shortly thereafter. He grew up in South Ogden in Grandview Acres and graduated from Ogden High in 1951. While a youth, he rode his bike many times during summers to pick cherries. He moved back to North Ogden after retirement and enjoyed seeing from his patio where he picked cherries as a child.
Robert served in the United States Air Force from 1953 to 1957, perhaps enlisting as a result of stories his father shared with him from WWI and his work at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden. He and his wife, Lawana Jean Crockett were married on February 1, 1957 in the Salt Lake Temple. Together they have two children, Craig and Claire.
Moving to Los Angeles in 1963, he began his graduate studies in the Classics at UCLA. While doing so, he discovered a passion for the sciences and began his pre-med/dental studies, graduating from USC Dental School in 1973. As a dentist, he mesmerized his patients with his magic tricks, distracting them from pain. AS such he was known as a painless dentist. Ultimately he became Director of the UCLA Graduate Pain Program and Clinic at the UCLA School of Dentistry where he was loved by colleagues and students alike. During this time he was also called to Korea as a visiting professor at the Yonsei University, School of Dentistry. He received the lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Orofacial Pain.
As retired Professor Emeritus of UCLA Dental School, he enjoyed skiing, baking sourdough bread, fly fishing, learning languages, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and spending time with his beloved grandchildren.
He was also highly engaged with church activities, serving as a Bishop, counselor in the Stake Presidency, and Patriarch in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Robert is survived by his wife, Lawana Merrill; children, Craig (Mihwa Oh) Merrill and Claire (Jon) Claunch; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Ella Merrill; and brother, Arthur Reed Merrill.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2022 at 11 am at the North Ogden 9th Ward, 205 East Elberta Drive, North Ogden, UT. Friends may visit with family on Friday from 6-8 pm at Lindquist’s North Ogden Mortuary, 2140 N. Washington Blvd. and Saturday from 9:30-10:30 am at the church. Interment, Lindquist’s Memorial Gardens of the Wasatch, 1718 Combe Rd, South Ogden, UT.
Services will be live-streamed and available at the bottom of Robert's obituary page.
Please consider donations to UCLA at
Saturday, June 4, 2022
9:30 - 10:30am (Mountain time)
North Ogden 9th Ward