Former Alpine County Sheriff and Supervisor Stu Merrill died Aug. 1, 2017, at his home in Woodfords.. He was 94.
Stuart was born to Grant Perry Merrill and Angie Tibbetts Merrill in Gardnerville in January 1923. He was raised in Woodfords, the third generation of the pioneer Merrill family.
He spent his later grade school and high school years in Mojave after his father was transferred there to serve as the state highway superintendent. Stu always returned to Alpine County during the summers and school vacations.
After high school he attended Sacramento Junior College. He divided his time between studies, ski racing and ski instructing at Sugar Bowl.
College was interrupted when Stu served in the Air Force in the European theater during WWII. After the war he enrolled at San Jose State, pledged Delta Sigma fraternity, continued his intercollegiate ski racing. He met Eileen Hunter, who he declared to be “the girl he would marry.” They were married on Sept. 11, 1948.
After graduation the couple moved to Woodfords where they assumed management of the family’s Woodfords Store & Resort. In 1958 Stu was elected sheriff of Alpine County. He served five terms until his retirement in 1978. Stu continued his public service for several years serving as an Alpine County supervisor.
In retirement Stu rekindled his passion for ski racing (senior division). He joined Eileen golfing. Together they traveled and went on reunion adventures with close friends. He was an avid fisherman (he always kept his fly rod in the trunk of the car), knowing every fishing hole in the Eastern Sierra but never divulged his favorites. In later years he would teach his three grandchildren to fish, how to drive the golf cart and use the stick shift in the old truck.
Stu was a people person known for his sociability, admired for his compassion, generosity and willingness to help others. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, California Peace Officers Association, Carson Valley Freemasons, Sirs and the Alpine County Historic Society.
He was preceded in death by his brothers Austin and Robert Merrill.
Stu is survived by his wife, Eileen; children, Eric (Michele) and Cathy; grandchildren, Grant, Ian and Hanna; nephews and nieces, Greg Merrill, Linda Merrill, Sandra Merrill, Warren Merrill, Barbara Merrill Moore and their children.
The memorial service will be Aug. 27 at 11am at Turtle Rock Park Community Center in Markleeville. Burial will be private.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers or sympathy gifts, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Alpine County Historic Society, PO Box 517, Markleeville, CA 96120.