Lewis Wayne Merritt, 48, a local son of Mineral Wells, a dearly loved husband and father, died tragically Jan. 23, 2013, near Roanoke, VA.
Services will be held Jan. 31 at 11a.m. at Southside Church of Christ in Mineral Wells. Graveside military honors will take place at Sturdivant Cemetery. Visitation is Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at the funeral home.
A son of the late John Wesley Merritt and Lottie Pauline Etheridge, Lewis was born May 6, 1964, in Mineral Wells. He attended Mineral Wells High School and was a member of Southside Church of Christ.
After high school, he joined the Army, serving his country stateside and overseas in Stuttgart, Germany. After leaving military service, he attended Oklahoma Christian University then dabbled in acting which included a part in the Oliver Stone film "JFK."
However, Lewis felt the pull for the open road and soon became a truck driver, reliving some of his fondest childhood memories of riding "shot-gun" in his Uncle Tommy's 18-wheeler.
Whenever his schedule would allow, he would explore the local communities during layovers, riding the bike he took with him on the truck.
In 2004, Lewis again felt the call to serve his country, spending four years as a civilian contractor in Bagdad, Iraq. During this time he performed many duties in the IT department including Systems Administrator.
Here at home, his IT experience included working at Fidelity Investments and Capellon Pharmaceuticals. Ultimately, driving was his passion, so he returned to truck driving with Stevens Transport.
Lewis fell in love with Tracy Woodruff, who was equally swept off her feet. They were married on Oct. 24, 1998. They have three children: Wesley, Catherine, and Joshua Merritt. His deep love for his children was evident and felt daily in the heart of his family. His leadership encouraged them and his sense of adventure inspired them. He will be sorely missed.
Lewis will be forever remembered for his big smile, readily hearty laugh, intelligence, political insight and enthusiastic love for life and family.
Lewis was proceeded in death by his parents John Merritt (1913-2005) and Lottie Etheridge (1925-2001), both formerly of Mineral Wells.
Lewis is survived by his wife Tracy; sons Wesley and Joshua; daughter Catherine; and mother-in-law Lynda Woodruff of Wichita Falls. Also surviving are brothers Ted Wesley (Robin) Merritt of Fredericksburg, Lance Merritt of Mineral Wells, and Roy (Shanna) Merritt of Plano; sisters Mona (Tony) Kernagis of Valparaiso, IN, and Beth (Mike) Fitz of Ft. Worth; Brother-in-law Scott Woodruff of Zachary, LA; sister-in-law Janet (Johnny) Gresham of Louisville, KY; step-brother Doug (Mary) Davis of Pantego; step-sisters Dorothy Burns and Becky Brice; step-mother Pauline Davis Merritt of Mineral Wells; also aunts, uncles, many nieces and nephews and dozens of cousins.