He was a 1956 graduate of East High School, Cleveland. Johnnie will be remembered for the love and pride he had for his family, and his lifelong love for baseball and the Cleveland Indians.
He enjoyed gardening, trips to Amish country, volunteering, was a state advocate for people with disabilities and looked forward to entering the Kidney Foundation’s annual Chili Cook-Off where he won a 1st place trophy.
Johnnie is survived by his wife, Phyllis R. Merrell (nee Schumaker); his mother, Virginia Dillon; son, Jeff (daughter-in-law Beth); daughter, Patricia Jones (nee Merrell) (son-in-law Kevin); grandchildren, Jessica McDonald (Merrell) (husband Geoff), Joshua Merrell, Ryan and Erin Jones; great-grandchildren, Nathan and Jacob McDonald.
He is also survived by his sister, Wanda Osborne (Merrell), who as his kidney donor, made it possible for him to share with his family an additional 22 years; his brother, Danny, who he fiercely loved and supported, along with many other family members and friends who will truly miss him.
He was preceded in death by his father, Thomas Merrell; son, Gregory; sister, Fran Wells (Merrell); and brother, Tom.
A memorial service, officiated by Pastor Anthony, will be 3 p.m. Saturday, November 10, 2007, at St. Peter and St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1500 Lincoln Blvd., Lorain.
As a juvenile diabetic, Johnnie’s dream was that a cure be found for diabetes. To help further that research he donated his body to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), 5000 Rockside Road, Suite 310, Independence, OH 44131, or LEAP (Linking Employment, Abilities, Potential), Lorain Office, 2100 North Ridge Road, Elyria, OH 44035.