Emeritus General Authority Seventy, Elder V. Dallas Merrell, dies at age 83

Elder V. Dallas Merrell, who served as a General Authority Seventy from 1992 to 1997, passed away at age 83 on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah.

Prior to his call as a General Authority Seventy, Elder Merrell served first as the president of the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission from 1986 to 1989 and then as a regional representative from 1989 to 1992.

He was born in Basalt, Idaho, on Jan. 25, 1936, and exemplified a commitment to the gospel and service throughout his life. Raised on a farm, Elder Merrell had planned to pursue farming through his university education, but his life changed course when instead of attending Washington State University as planned, he enrolled at BYU where he studied economics and sociology. He continued on to receive two master's degrees and a doctoral degree from BYU and the University of Southern California.

Elder V. Dallas Merrell.
Elder V. Dallas Merrell. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

"One thing I learned was that people needed a friend, and that I could be a friend," said Elder Merrell of his time as a student. "I was drawn to people and was drawn toward the building of good works and helping others, which influenced very much my subsequent career choices."

He married Karen Dixon in 1959; they are the parents of nine children.

He dedicated his career to helping organizations identify and develop potential leaders and managers — a job he considered to be an extension of the gospel by helping people foster their full potential.

During his time as a general authority, Elder Merrell served in various parts of the world, and he noted his love to travel and see the growth of the Church around the world.

While visiting Tahiti in the 1990s, Elder Merrell told the Church News, "You find out it is the same gospel on this island as it is anywhere else in the Church. They worship the same God and use the same scriptures."

Funeral arrangements are pending.