Vernon Michael Merrigan died on April 6, 2020 at Caring Hands assisted living center, in Tucson, AZ of advanced Parkinson’s disease.
Vern was the oldest son of 13 children born to Hazel Blair and Earl Merrigan in the community of Garryowen, South Dakota. He attended country grade school, Trinity High School in Sioux City his freshmen year and completed his high school education at Vermillion High School. While a Vermillion Tanager, he was a member of a championship relay team and for many years held the record in the mile run until his cousin Steve Merrigan ran it faster. Vern often commented with a smile, “I’m really glad it was Flash who broke my record.”
Vernon attended USD for a year before his marriage to Jayne Walz of Vermillion in 1954. The couple lived for a time in Ainsworth, NE where he worked with irrigation equipment on a relative’s farm. Moving back to Vermillion, Vern operated a Standard Oil station until the family moved to California in 1962. Once in California he found the Ironworkers trade and worked on many projects in San Francisco and the East Bay until his retirement.
Vern and Jayne were divorced in 1975. He later married Yvonne Dearman in 1980. It was always his retirement dream to have a recreational vehicle and travel. Yvonne and Vern traveled all over the United States visiting daughters, family members and seeing the country. No matter where they traveled, Vern always found a Catholic Church to attend or a baseball game to watch. After Yvonne’s death in 2001, Vernon moved to Benson, AZ. He continued to return to SD in the summer to enjoy farm parties, eating at favorite restaurants, and appreciating the land, family and friends. He was truly a son of the fields and it was the harvests that eventually brought him home.
He is survived by his five daughters, Maureen Troxell Manteca, CA, Kathleen Duysen (Larry)-Castle Rock, WA-Kim Saulter (John)-Pinedale, WY, Shelly Adams (Bob)-Traverse City, MI and Shawn Merrigan-Sioux Falls, SD. He is also survived by his brothers Stanley Merrigan (Carolyn)-Alcester, SD, Jim Merrigan-Vermillion, SD and his sisters Liz Merrigan of Union County, SD-Ethel Merrigan (Bill Northwall)-St. Petersburg, FL, Margaret Smith-Milwaukee, WI and Jo Ann Merrigan-Savannah, GA. As well as, twelve grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Beginning their eternal journey before him are his parents Earl and Hazel Merrigan, Jayne Merrigan, Yvonne Merrigan, brothers Sterling (Bud) Merrigan, Jeff Merrigan and infant Maurice Merrigan, sisters Virginia Hartmann, Jeannie Girard and Mary O’Neil. He was also preceded in death by his brothers-in-law Ed Hartmann, Terry O’Neil and Warren Smith, a sister-in-law Dorene Merrigan and a nephew Tregg Merrigan.
Vernon was laid to rest in Livermore, CA on April 21, 2020 where Yvonne Merrigan is buried. Celebration of life to be at a later date.