MERRILL HAROLD WILSON, HMC, USN, RETIRED1929 - 2017The morning of Tuesday, August 8, 2017, the day after his 88th birthday and 52nd wedding anniversary, Merrill Harold Wilson, was called Home by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has been made whole again after his fight with Alzheimer’s, cancer and kidney failure. He is now happy and pain free in Heaven after his long struggle here on earth.Merrill (“Willy”) has been reunited in Heaven with his parents, Siebert L. Wilson and Esther J. Shank Wilson, and his older sister Jean Wilson.Left to mourn him are his wife, Ronellda (“Ronnie”) Penticoff Wilson, their two daughters, Stacy Powers and Cherilyn Parks Makin (Ryan); 6 grandchildren, Emily Fernandez, Katie Parks, Lexie Parks, Evan Makin, Parker Makin, and Jacob Makin, and one great-granddaughter, Josie Parks, all of Pensacola. Also remaining are his brother, Richard L. Wilson (Wilma) of Oregon, and two sisters, Virginia Reams and Wally Herbert of Tennessee.Willy’s children from his first marriage are Annette Newton (Ron), of Oregon, Tami McCormick, of Orlando, and Heidi Wilson of New Orleans; 19 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.After having been in the Navy for 16 years, in May of 1964, Willy reported as a First Class Hospital Corpsman to the Dispensary of the then David Taylor Model Basin in Carderock, Maryland. There he met Ronnie, his civilian boss’ secretary. That was when she learned to drink coffee which was always available in the Dispensary. A few months later, on their first date, he told her, when he transferred from there, he hoped to take her with him! Fifteen months after they met, on August 7, 1965, which just happened to be his birthday, they were married.Then, just 18 months later, in January of 1967, he was transferred to Viet Nam where he spent 12 months in Da Nang on APL 5, one of three “floating barracks” tied up in the harbor. HMC Wilson was the senior hospital corpsman on the APL’s which housed the men who manned the swift boats patrolling the river.While in Viet Nam, a tape recorder was available in the Model Basin Dispensary. Anyone, civilian or military, could record a message for Willy. Since it was a relatively small command and almost everyone knew Willy & Ronnie, it took a short time to fill a 3” tape. The tape would then be sent to him in Da Nang.Upon his return home, he was assigned to work at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in downtown Washington, DC. During that time, their first daughter, Stacy, was born.Willy, Ronnie and Stacy spent three wonderful years on Guam in the early 1970’s. When they returned to the States, he was assigned duty at the Naval Reserve Center in New Orleans, LA. While there, they were blessed with a second daughter, Cherilyn.For his last tour of duty, his “Twilight Cruise”, Willy requested Pensacola, FL. The family arrived at NAS Pensacola on April 1, 1976, where he was assigned to the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Lab (NAMRL) which dealt with medical issues and studies relating to the repatriated Prisoners of War, mostly from Viet Nam. He considered it an honor and found it very rewarding meeting and working with this amazing and very special group of people.During his career, Willy, or “doc” as he was often called, spent time at many of the Naval Hospitals in the USA as well as a few in other countries. In the early 1950’s, he was sent to Korea where he was injured, crushing his right ankle in which 3 pins were placed to hold it together. As a result of this, he was transferred stateside where he remained in a cast and as a patient for 6 months.He was assigned to several Marine units during which time he earned his Fleet Marine Force Pin. He also became qualified as a Flight Corpsman while stationed in Patuxent River, Maryland.HMC Merrill H. Wilson retired from the US Navy in February of 1978 after an honorable career of 30 years.Willy began showing signs of Alzheimer’s sometime around late 2008 to early 2009.After being cared for at home for as long as possible, on August 8, 2012, the day after Willy’s 83rd birthday, he moved in to Broadview Assisted Living where he remained until March of 2015.While at Broadview, he made many new friends and was quite activeEveryone at the facility grew to love him, caregivers and residents alike.He always had a smile and he was always thoughtful and kind to everyone.Whenever he could help with anything, he would be right there.If there was a Christmas tree to decorate, he was first in line; if someone in a wheelchair needed assistance, he was the first one to help; when a special occasion arose and furniture needed rearranging, he was always there to help.No matter who played against him, everyone always rooted for Willy and cheered louder when he won at Wii bowling. He even received a certificate for becoming the Wii Champion of the facility!!! And almost everyone he met complimented him on his beautiful white hair.While at Broadview, he fell and broke his right femur in four places. He was hospitalized for about a week, then sent to rehab for two months. After being released from rehab, he came home where he remained for about a year.In July of 2016, he moved in to Homestead Village where he was very well cared for. By then, he no longer remembered very much of his past, and none of his family or his marriage. But he was still the same sweet, lovable man he had always been.The staff all grew to care a great deal for this kind, gentle man who still almost always had a smile for everyone. Willy remained there until last Tuesday morning, August 8, the day after his 88th birthday and his 52nd wedding anniversary.His family wishes to thank all the doctors, most of whom were at West Florida Clinic, and staff members who cared for Willy during his treatments for his illnesses; and to both Regency and Covenant Hospice.We also wish to thank the caregivers, nurses and other staff members who cared for him at both Broadview and Homestead Village and during the year he remained at home.The management of Clarity Pointe was also very supportive.We must also acknowledge the thoughtful cooperation of the management at Homestead Village Assisted Living in their willingness to work with the family in Willy’s best interest.There are no words to describe how much we appreciate everyone who had anything to do with the loving care provided to Willy over the past few years.Visitation will be from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., Monday, August 14, 2017 at Trahan Family Funeral Home, Pensacola.Funeral service will be at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at Myrtle Grove Baptist Church with burial to follow at Barrancas National Cemetery.