Karen Merrill Obituary

Karen E. Merrill
Karen Merrill
Karen E. Merrill

July 1, 1944 - October 8, 2019
Born in Iowa
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Karen Huff Merrill, 75, was born in Keokuk, Iowa on July 1, 1944, to Roy and Carrie Huff. She graduated from Keokuk High School in 1962. She attended Iowa Wesleyan College, earning a degree in education and religion & philosophy. She taught second grade in Elgin, IL for one year. She attended seminary at Boston University and became a fully ordained member of the Iowa United Methodist Church. She married Reg Merrill Jr. on August 24, 1969. Together they were the first clergy couple in the state of Iowa.

She served congregations throughout the state of Iowa. Her first appointment was to Faith Parish with churches in Farragut, Summit, Riverton and Locus Grove, 1971-1976. Next, she served at North English, South English, and Millersburg United Methodist churches, 1976-1981. She was the pastor at Mt. Union and Wesley Chapel from 1981-1984, Plainfield and Frederika UMCs from 1984-1992, Monroe UMC from 1992-2000, and in Des Moines, Iowa at Christ and Marquisville UMCs.

Karen was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. She liked nothing more than spending an afternoon cheering on her beloved cubbies with her family. She was an avid reader. She always had a book and a great story to tell. Her greatest joy in life was spending time with her grandson, Wayne Miner. She never missed an opportunity to brag about how amazing he is. She was very active in her church. She regularly attended bible studies, Sunday school and organized the Grace Diners group for meals on Sundays.

She was a member of PEO and AAUW. She was a strong Democrat and gave many hours of service to the Dallas County Democratic organization. She loved to travel. She especially enjoyed traveling to the Holy Land and England/Europe.

She is survived by her daughters, Beth Miner (Brett) and Debbie Merrill; grandson, Wayne Miner; niece, Tricia Decker (Dan); nephews, Jeff (Marvin), Jason (Wendy) and Tim (Rachelle) Klesner. Great nephews, Noah, Drew and Ben Decker; Sha’King, Caybron and Keythan Klesner; and Cadon Klesner. Great nieces, Jarny, Hayden, Sophia and Bella Klesner.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Carrie Huff; her sister, Pat Klesner and her brother-in-law Rob Klesner.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to the American Diabetes Association or to JDRF: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.





Grace United Methodist Church
3700 Cottage Grove
Des Moines, IA US 50311
Saturday, October 12, 2019
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Grace United Methodist Church
3700 Cottage Grove
Des Moines, IA US 50311
Saturday, October 12, 2019
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM


American Diabetes Association-Iowa Chapter
4430 - 114th Street
Urbandale, IA US 50322