Merrill L. Bone was born May 26, 1960, to John and Beverly Jean Bone. He was the only son of John and Beverly and was the affectionate brother of Lisa, Shari, and Kim. Merrill began his family early in life and had five children, Travis, Maegan, Emily, Dallon, and Trevor, along with many grandchildren. Merrill was loved by his grandchildren, who affectionately nicknamed him “Black Papa,” for the black leather clothing he wore on his motorcycle, and “Papa Bone.” Merrill was known and loved by both his family and fire family for his “Merrillisms” and quirky comments.
Merrill loved doing everything to the extreme, along with bull riding and joining the Leatherheads motorcycle club. He found great passion in education and public service. He started his firefighting career with West Valley City Fire Department and Salt Lake City Fire Department. He held the ranks of firefighter and paramedic. He was a member of the Heavy Rescue Program and UTTF1. Merrill deployed many times with UTTF1, including to New York City following September 11, 2001. Merrill retired after 20 years from Salt Lake City Fire Department and joined Unified Fire Authority in 2006. Merrill worked for UFA as a firefighter, paramedic, and finally held the rank of captain. Merrill was also a member of USAR and was a wildland firefighter. He held more awards, certifications and accomplishments than can be listed.
Throughout his journey as a firefighter, Merrill also pursued education. He held multiple degrees and was a beloved instructor. Merrill worked at the Utah Fire Rescue Academy as an instructor, instructed large animal rescue courses, and worked closely with FEMA. He collaborated and assisted in the creation of the Medical Specialist Operations Course (MSOC) for FEMA and spent multiple years teaching the course. His contribution to this course is now remembered with a scholarship named in his honor.
Merrill was deeply loved by everyone he came into contact with. The most important thing in Merrill’s life was his fire family and ensuring that he passed on all his knowledge to the next generation of firefighters. Merrill strived to engage and educate everyone he encountered and will forever be remembered in that way.