Merrill Irvin Walker

(Sept, 24, 1952 - Sept. 3, 2023)


Our wonderful, kind, loving husband, dad, brother, son and friend Merrill I. Walker, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023 after a severe stroke.

He was born in Provo, Utah to Richard (Dick) and Billie (Farmer) Walker on Sept. 24, 1952. He grew up in Centerville, Utah, until in the seventh grade when the family moved to Powell, Wyoming. He graduated from Powell High School and entered the Navy in September 1970, receiving an honorable discharge in December 1973.

He attended Eastern Montana College, dabbling a bit in sociology and political science majors while working various jobs. In college he met longtime buddies Jim Ray, Mike Garvey, Charlie Patton and Gary Knoppe — what a raucous party it must have been when they got together!

He spent time working with his mom and dad at Wyoming Mobile Homes business. He also played guitar in the band Sidecutter for several years around the northern Wyoming area.

Merrill met Gayle Staudinger, at her first nursing job after graduation, in Powell when he was a patient in the Powell Hospital (yes this does happen!). They married on Oct. 6, 1984 in Billings, Montana and have lived there since. Daughter Larissa came along in 1989 and Darci arrived in 1992. Merrill worked at Meadowlark and Hi-Ball trucking companies, D&H Spring Machine and Welding and Edwards Jet Service.

He always enjoyed listening to any genre of music and recording albums to share with his friends. He liked a good video game, reading serial science fiction books, figuring out Sudoku, fishing in Canada and other places with his dad, father-in-law George Staudinger, brother-in-law Gary Staudinger and Gary’s sons. He enjoyed camping with family and especially in our motor home with a few creature comforts. He was always willing to help someone out with a project — just ask any of our family! He loved creating anything artful, be it drawing, painting, stain glass work, beer or wine brewing. And he enjoyed baking and cooking, tweaking recipes so we could truly say it was “a la Merrill.” After he specialized them, anyone would be a convert to eating his brussels sprouts! He relished listening to YouTube relating to all the recent political upheaval. He was elected in 1996, serving on both the Lockwood Water and Sewer and Lockwood Irrigation Board. We had interesting sewer talk in our house at times!

He was so very proud of our daughters’ many accomplishments and fantastic creative skills.

Merrill was preceded in death by his father Dick, brothers Brent and Philip Owen, grandparents Eldon and “Lottie” Walker and Owen and Merle Farmer. Left here to attempt to forge ahead without his helping hands are his wife Gayle of Billings, daughter Larissa Walker (Alex Welander) and granddaughter Harper Welander of Missoula, Montana; daughter Darci Hupka (Rhett) of Billings; mother Billie Walker of Powell; sisters Brenda Hopkin of Magna, Utah; MaryAnn Keeler of Powell; and Wendy Smith of Clark, Wyoming; and lots of nieces and nephews.

Our sincerest gratitude to the staff at Billings Clinic for their compassionate care of Merrill and our family members, especially ICU RN’s Kelly, Katherine and Eboni, Dr. Bruno, Dr. Cruz and Dr. Durnford and their PA’s.

Merrill — enjoy the music in heaven, go fishing with your dad and father-in-law and we’re sure you’ll find someone up there to help with a project. You are gone way too soon from us, but know how much you are loved and admired — and how you’ll be missed here so very, very much!

Services were held Monday, Sept. 11, 2023 at The Church of Latter-day Saints at 1640 Broadmoor in Billings Heights.