Merrill was born August 24, 1911 in Vernal (Naples), Utah to the late Albert Gardner and Lydia Merrell Goodrich. He was the eighth of nine children, two of which predeceased his birth.
Prior to moving from Utah to Moses Lake, Washington in 1950 Merrill was known in the Naples community as an honest business man, always willing to work with families with economical disadvantages, enabling them to afford having an appliance or oil stove in their house. They may have had a dirt floor, but chances were that there was a refrigerator in the corner of the room, or a new electric ringer style washing machine on the porch; and it was likely delivered to them from the Naples store.
In combination with the Naples Store Merrill also owned a gas station, and a stove oil distribution service. As small as it was in 1947 'Highway Service' was the largest truck stop on U.S 40 between Salt Lake City and Denver.
It has been said that Merrill was the first in the country to install two-way radios in petroleum trucks.