Merrill Roe Drollinger

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Merrill Roe Drollinger

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Ashton, ID, United States
Death: June 05, 1999 (85)
Phoenix, AZ, United States (Heart failure)
Place of Burial: Prescott Valley, Yavapai, Arizona, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Stephen Franklin Drollinger and Geneva Elenor Drollinger
Husband of Martha Edna Lee Drollinger
Ex-husband of Gladys Genevieve Drollinger
Father of Danny Franklin Drollinger; Private User; Private; Merrill "Tex" Richard Drollinger; Arla Genevieve Drollinger (Tolman) and 1 other
Brother of Deward Franklin Drollinger; Gerald Stephen Drollinger and Geneva Fulton Burton

Occupation: Firefighter (dreamed of being a farmer), Firefighter
Managed by: Danny Franklin Drollinger
Last Updated:

About Merrill Roe Drollinger

Drolli, as Merrill was called by many, was born at home in Ashton, Idaho on February 24, 1914, just a few miles from where both his parents were raised. He did not receive a birth certificate until requested as an adult.

Merrill's first marriage did not work out, and little of it was talked about. His divorce was unheard of in a 1940's LDS family. What was also unheard of was that he was given custody of his 3 children.

Merrill went to school with his second wife, Martha Higgins, in a one-room schoolhouse out in the sandhills of eastern Wyoming. At the time both were the children of homesteaders, and both had siblings in school with them. Merrill's last year of school was the eighth grade and I do not know if he completed that year. He began his working life even before that, but that began his full-time work. He is known to have worked on farms and ranches as a hand, and told me of being snowed in for a winter on a ranch in Montana.

Merrill wanted to be a farmer and loved to watch things grow, but a twist of fate changed the course of his life. Just days before his 21st birthday, when he was eligible to homestead land, Wyoming repealed their homestead act, as he put it, and he was forced to pursue other work. I personally know nothing of his employment from that time until shortly before WWII. At that time he started work at Casper Air Force Base in Casper, Wyoming. Casper AFB may have been an Army Air Corps Camp at that time, but Dad never mentioned that. He was a firefighter then and his whole crew traded back and forth from Crash to Structural on a routine basis. Dad told me that it seemed all the bad crashes took place when he was on structure, and vice versa, so he did not see many actual fires, just endless training.

While at the AFB Merrill was drafted into the US Navy and sent to the Pacific Theatre as a Stevedore in the SeaBees. He mentioned Pearl Harbor, after the attack of course, Okinawa and Tinnian but I cannot be sure all of the places he may have been. Who knows now if he was sure. He remained in the Navy until the end of WWII and returned to his job at Casper AFB, until it closed in the late 1940's.

When the AFB closed those affected were allowed to take openings at other locations. Merrill moved with his family to the Atomic Energy Commission Site in Idaho at that time, finding a home in Blackfoot. He was a member of that Fire Department on the day in 1952 when Arco, Idaho became the first town in the world to be powered by Atomic Energy. The reactor used is a museum today, and his #2 son (as he used to call us) lives and works within sight of it.

In Blackfoot, all of the second family was born, and all of the first family attained adulthood; and his garden grew. Every year Merrill tended a vegetable garden and helped his wife with their flower garden. He maintained producing fruit trees and they canned, or later froze the crops that weren't eaten fresh. Merrill retired from Federal Civil Service in the late 1960's and worked at odd jobs, mostly in agriculture until nearly 80 years of age.

The family moved to Humboldt, Arizona in September of 1971, where the couple lived out their lives. It deserves noting that Merrill helped design, plant and maintain the place where he now rests with a beautiful view of Mingus Mountain.

(Written by his #3 son, Danny, March 31, 2013)

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Merrill Roe Drollinger's Timeline

1914
February 24, 1914
Ashton, ID, United States
1939
September 21, 1939
Casper, Natrona, Wyoming, United States
1941
November 18, 1941
Chester, Fremont County, ID, United States
1999
June 5, 1999
Age 85
Phoenix, AZ, United States