James “Parker” Merrill, of Weston, passed peacefully on April 8, 2022, at the age of 73 with his loving family by his side at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. He was the only son of the late Lovida (Williams) Merrill and James Merrill. After graduating from Delavan-Darien High School and developing a keen interest in music, he attended the University of Idaho majoring in music education where he played the tuba. Upon leaving the U of I, he enlisted in the United States Air Force as a musician and was stationed in Colorado Springs assigned to the North American Air Defense Command Band (NORAD). While serving his country, he met his future wife, Martha, and the two were married at St. Paul Catholic Church in Beloit.
In addition to music, he had an exceptional interest in aviation. Upon the completion of his military service, he obtained many aviation ratings and began his career as a flight instructor in southern Wisconsin. Following time spent as a charter and corporate pilot, he was then hired by United Airlines flying both domestically and internationally for a total of twenty-three years.
Once he retired, he spent many hours in his workshop. Parker especially enjoyed the challenge of tinkering and also building radio-controlled aircraft. This led to him being an active member of the Wausau R/C Sports Club.
He is survived by his wife, Martha; son, Steven; daughter, Meredith; Jenna Hazaert (D2) who he considered to be a special member of his family; sisters: Mary Ellen, Rheta Jane, and Kat; sisters-in-law: Mary and Jane; and many nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death were his parents; nephew, Jim; and brothers-in-law: Karl, Earl, and Mike.
His ashes will be interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Kronenwetter at 11:15 a,m. on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, followed by a Celebration of Life at 12:15 p.m. at the Wausau R/C Sports Club field at noon. Please wear casual attire. Hawaiian shirts are encouraged! Military honors at the graveside will be conducted by the American Legion Post No. 10, Wausau.
Memorial donations may be sent to Wausau R/C Sports Club or the charity of your choice.
The family wishes to thank the exceptional nurses in the Aspirus Cardiac ICU: Claude, Justin, Nathan, Stefanie, Kate, and Gavin.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com
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