On August 20, 1953, Leonard James Merrill Sr., a Pastor from God’s own heart, was born to the parentage of the late I.V. and Anna Merrill. Leonard graduated from Gladewater High School and began in the journey called Life. He loved cartoons and old adventure and dinosaur movies. Leonard's hobbies were painting automobiles, fishing, and hunting but the greatest hobby of them all was playing his guitar! Day and night, he would play the guitar until he accomplished the song he heard on the tape or vinyl. He owned his own Paint & Body Shop for several years. He always said he was just minding his business when God called and chose him to preach and teach his word and he answered the call. Despite all, starting out young, he preached for many years. He held tent revivals, healing services, reached out to the youth, jail and nursing facilities to bring a word from the Lord. Leonard enjoyed teaching the word of God at his church in the Redrock Community, also known as the “Redrock Bottoms”. For several years at his little humble church behind the location formerly known as NuWay, before it became G and J; he taught the word, played his guitar, and sung, with such conviction, dedication, love to God and full of the Holy Ghost!! Leonard’s family was his pride and joy and he loved all of them immensely. There was no separating him from Dot, the kids, grandkids, his family or Gladewater, TX.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his beloved, and devoted wife of 46 years, Dororthy Merrill; six children, Mickel Reese (Nenoka Verrett-Reese) of Houma, La., Melissa Merrill of Gladewater, Tx. , Leonard Merrill JR. (Quisha Merrill) of Dallas, Tx., Tiffany Marshall (Micheal Marshall) of Marshall, Tx., Leon Merrill (LaTanya Merrill) of Gilmer, Tx. and Missy Merrill of Gladewater,Tx; Thirteen grandchildren, four great grandchildren; brothers, Clint Merrill, Kenneth Merrill, Craig Merrill, and Dwight Merrill; one sister, Linda Gayle Merrill; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.