He was born Nov. 26, 1932, in Cape Girardeau, son of Rosco L. and Lela Barger Simmons. He and Norma M. Peetz were married Aug. 21, 1954, in Kelso, Mo. She passed away April 26, 2005.
Simmons was inducted into the Missouri Army National Guard 1140th Engineer Battalion on July 25, 1950, and was honorably discharged from service June 24, 1990. While in the service he worked as a mechanic and had attained the rank of master sergeant. From 1990 to 2001 he owned and operated S&S Automotive.
He was a member of St. Mary's Cathedral Catholic Church in Cape Girardeau and the Knights of Columbus Council No. 1111 in Cape Girardeau, the Missouri State Bowling Hall of Fame and served as a former secretary of the Cape Girardeau District Bowling Association. Merrill was also a member of the Exchange Club and the American Legion Post No. 63, both in Cape Girardeau.
Loving survivors include a son and daughter-in-law, Tom and Marlya Simmons of Jackson; a daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Mark Dambach of Jackson; five grandchildren, Travis, Lauren, LaTavish, Makala and Charleigh; a brother, Harold (Louise) Simmons of Cape Girardeau; and two sisters Betty (John) Gannon of Waterbury, Conn., and Carolyn (Monte) Kyle of Cape Girardeau.
In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents; stepfather, Irvin Johnson; and a sister.
Friends may call between 4 and 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, at McCombs Funeral Home in Jackson.
Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the funeral home, with Rev. Jimmie Corbin officiating.
Interment will follow at 1 p.m. at the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery in Bloomfield, Mo., with graveside military honors.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society or the American Legion Post No. 63 in Cape Girardeau.