The Saratoga Sun -

Betty E. Bixler Merrill


In Loving Memory

Betty Ellen Merrill

9/13/1925 – 3/20/2017

Betty Ellen Bixler Merrill entered this world on September 13, 1925, in Parco (now Sinclair), Wyoming to Pearl and Charles Bixler. Betty settled in Encampment at a young age and attended Encampment schools. She married Dale Merrill on October 30, 1942 in a double ceremony with Slim and Charlotte Kraft who remained lifelong friends. On the first day of spring, March 20, 2017, Betty chose this beautiful morning for her new beginning.

Betty is survived by her four children, Vonda Wieburg and her husband Jack, Bob Merrill and his wife Judy, Ed Merrill and his wife Kathy, Kaye Orton and her husband Buzz. Ten grandchildren, Rissa Lewis, Brian and Victor Wieburg, Cord and Cade Merrill, Tandi Moore, Ty Orton, Shannon Gentry, Lindsey Ellsworth and Brock Merrill; and 13 great-grandchildren, Fallon Lewis, Justin and Chance Merrill, Grady and Trevor Moore, Brenden and Brooks Wieburg, Tristan and Cooper Orton, Tanner, Jolee and Rylan Gentry, and Dylan Merrill. She is also survived by her brother, Charles Bixler and his wife Ema; her step-brother, Bill Moore; and her special friend, Jack James.

Betty is preceded in death by her parents, Pearl and Charles Bixler; her husband Dale; her brother, Elvin D. Bixler; and great-granddaughter Morgan Merrill.

Friends and family remember Betty as a kind, caring person who enjoyed life despite the many hardships she endured. She was a member of the greatest generation who survived the depression, sent a husband off to war and managed a household devoid of modern conveniences. She not only raised her own four children, but also Norm Stark, who came to the Merrill Ranch from Maine at age 14 and somehow forgot to go home until he graduated from high school. Great-nephew, Wade Herring, adopted Betty and Dale and lived on the ranch through his high school years. She also cared for her brother-in-law, Frosty, with great compassion even after Dale passed. For those who knew her best, they found she was a great listener but not a big talker. When she did have something to say, everyone knew–especially her grandkids–that they had better pay attention. Betty was a fantastic cook and was perhaps best known for her rolls and always loved it when the grandkids made a special request for them.

Betty enjoyed being active and involved in her community. She was an AVID domino player and quilter at the Senior Center. She was a member of the Dirt Diggers Garden Club, Mariners VFW Auxiliary, Snowy Range Cow Belles, Bowling Team, Cemetery Board and Museum Board. She was a rodeo timer at the Woodchoppers Jamboree Days for many years and a Parade Grand Marshall with long-time friend, Charlotte Kraft. Betty also appreciated and enjoyed all that Wyoming and the West offered.

"Just let me live my life as I've begun

And give me work that's open to the sky;

Make me a partner of the wind and sun,

And I won't ask a life that's soft and high."

Memorials may be made to the Grand Encampment Museum (PO Box 43) or Encampment Senior Center.

Thank you.


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