John Scott Merrill
Crossed the Bar
July 08, 2022

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Updated:  07/13/2022
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Sailing from Homer to Kodiak and out the Aleutians

From: scott sharon merrill
Date: 07/10/2022 9:01 AM
Subject: Memorial Service

    Scott’s burial wishes.  Scott requested no funeral. He is being cremated and his ashes will be put into the sea.    

    Our son Brett is a relief Captain for Alaska Marine Highway. One of Scott’s proudest moments was when Brett captained the Tustumena, Scott’s old ship, for the first time.  Also the first time an AMHS ship had been captained by the son of its previous captain.  

    In time, when Brett is captaining the ship, we’ll all fly to Kodiak and board the Tustumena.  Scott’s ashes will be put into the sea off the coast of Kodiak. Then we’ll continue on to Homer.  This is exactly what Scott wanted and where he should be. Sailing the Homer to Kodiak then out the Aleutians was his favorite place to go. And honest to goodness he loved the famously tough Aleutian weather.

     I’ve always said Scott had salt water in his veins.    

     Sharon M

    Scott and Sharon talked about this a while ago and couldn’t come up with an answer.  Sharon suggests for those wishing to make a donation to please find a local sailing academy and contribute so a youngster can learn to sail.  Scott would be pleased immensely.

From: scott sharon merrill
Date: 07/09/2022 1:47 PM
Subject: Scott Merrill - Update

   I need to let you know that Scott passed yesterday. Our son and daughter were here with me and we spent the last hours sharing sweet memories and reminiscing about all our family sagas. Scott was deeply loved by his kids and we deeply loved him.

   I would like to ask one small favor.  If any of his classmates who have interesting/fun Scotty Merrill stories to share please send them to our son Brett:  Brett is also a sailor, he followed in his dad’s footsteps and also his grandpa’s footsteps, plane pilot.    

    When we were on a family sailing trip in the San Juan’s a few years ago we pulled up at a dock in Friday Harbor. The customs officer came out to do his thing then did a double take. When he said, “Scotty? Scotty Merrill?” we all knew what to expect next. Only a classmate ever called him Scotty. We knew there was going to be some story telling and catching up. I’m sorry to say I don’t remember who that was but we all had a fun chuckle out of it.    

    In his last day I told him I’d think of him every time I saw a sailboat out on our lake. When we looked out today we saw a Thistle regatta in progress. Gave us great comfort to think that somehow Scott is out there too, hip perched on the gunwale, hand on the tiller, face to the wind finding just the perfect course to win the race.     

    Sail on Scotty Merrill!
  Sincerely, Sharon M

From: Jim Specht
Date: 07/09/2022 5:13 PM
Subject: Scotty
Hello Brett,
   I was sorry to hear about your father's passing. I was the Customs Officer at Friday Harbor in the San Juans who let Scotty and his family into the country. Scotty was in my summer section. Part of Swab Summer is where all the cadets learn dinghy sailing. I always hoped during class to be paired up with Scotty because he knew what he was doing.
  The day that he checked in was very busy. I examined his passport and saw that he was from Massachusetts, and I said "Massachusetts! When I was at the Academy, the best sailors were from Massachusetts."
  Scotty said "What Academy?"
  I told him, "Coast Guard."
  He asked, "That was my academy. What year?"
  I said "72"
  He said, "That's my year."
   I took a second look at his photo and saw that it was really him. We visited for a while and then I had to break off. Other boats were lined up.

    I am grateful that I had one last time to visit with my summer classmate from Section 7.  I am pleased that he remembered me.
   CBP Officer Jim Specht (Ret.)


     Classmate Emails


From: scott sharon merrill
Date: 07/10/2022 8:28 AM
Subject:  A little family history    

Good morning Mark,  I thank you and Anne for the condolences. Your kind words are appreciated.  Also thanks for the luncheon invitation. I will not be attending as I’m hoping to be on my way to Alaska then.

    When Scott, Brett and I moved to Kodiak in 1981 my folks came frequently to visit and to go crabbing with us. Dad particularly fell in love with AK. They visited us in Juneau too and the grand plan then was we’d all retire in Juneau.

   Sometime in the mid 80s the folks found property overlooking Cook Inlet in Kenai, built a home and retired there in 1988.  When Scott retired in 1995, we moved to Soldotna to be near them. Fast forward 23 years and we became grandparents. I just couldn’t fathom being a Grammy from 3500 miles away so we packed up and moved to beautiful Yale Lake in SW WA.

    My 91 year old mom passed last month. Dad has been heroic in taking care of her. Because of Covid and then Scott’s illness I haven’t been to Kenai in over a year. I’m in serious need of a dad hug and we both need to shed some tears over these two losses.  I know you still need a bio. Will try to get that to you soon. It might come from Brett, he’s the one with the Antarctica sailing trip pics. A dad and son adventure, my retirement gift to Scott. Because what do you give a man who has spent a lifetime at sea?  A 7 week sailing trip in a tall ship, what else?
   Thanks again for getting the word out to the class of ‘72.
   Sincerely, Sharon M


From: brwayne72
Date: 7/9/22 22:47 (GMT-05:00)
Subject: Scotty Merrill

Brett.... First off, my deepest condolences to you, your mom, Sharon, and the rest of the family. 

    Secondly, Your dad was a GREAT guy. He and I were fast friends from the very first year at CGA. One of my earliest recollections of Scott was that he was from Boston, had this really weird accent (I'm from New Jersey) and he LOVED the Bruins. I knew nothing of ice hockey and had zero interest.  Scott on the other hand secretly kept a small transistor radio, which as a fourth class cadet (freshman) was absolutely prohibited, that he used for the sole purpose of listening to Bruins games in the dark with an earpiece.  I was amazed he was willing to risk demerits just to listen to hockey. That's how much he loved his Bruins. 

     We remained close friends through the four years at the Academy.  Scott came to my home a few times for weekend getaways and got to know my parents.  He was a charter member of the 33 Bayview Crew along with myself and about 8 or ten others. It was a group that leased a house during our senior year for the purpose of relaxing, camaraderie and the 'occasional' libation. Much relaxing was had at 33 Bayview. 

     Scott (or Scotty as we called him) was indeed a great sailor and consummate man of the sea. He and I followed somewhat similar paths as we pursued maritime careers on board vessels. He and I were the last two members of CGA Class of '72 that were actively working on ships. I just retired in late 2021. He will be missed, honored and remembered.

      With a heavy heart....
     Bruce W. Kreger Captain, US Merchant Marine, retired

3rd Class year- 1969


From: Charles McCarthy
Date: July 9, 2022 at 6:57:34 PM EDT
Subject: Your father's history

   I am so sorry to hear about your dad's death; losing a parent is tough especially when they are so young.  
Your dad and I were briefly wives (roommates) during our 2/c year at the academy.  While we traveled in different social, academic, and extracurricular circles, two things I vividly remember:
   1) in the era of wide legged pants, I believe it was his mom (unsure of that) who split a pair of his jeans on the outside seam and sewed a 2 inch wide piece of colorful fabric between the two seams;
  2)  The attached picture of your dad in his rack in Chase Hall - yes, that is a plastic pumpkin on his head (which probably dates the photo around Halloween 1970) and yes, that is indeed your dad.  I sent you two versions, the first I used MS Paint to open, the second I just opened with whatever my computer wanted to use.  As a result, you'll have to crop it for a better view.
With my sympathy,
Charlie McCarthy, '72


From: Scott Jones
Date: 07/10/2022 3:58 PM
Subject: Memories of Scott Merrill    

Brett   Patti and I send our condolences. We will be praying for you and for your family. While our paths have not crossed in many years, your dad was a close friend and we are both deeply saddened by his passing.   Your dad and I were assigned to Delta Company swab year along with Bruce Kreger, Dave Engan, and others who later formed the core of the “33 Bayview” crew. My wife, Patti, was one of the 33 Bayview ladies.

   I was raised in Arkansas and arrived at CGA knowing pretty much nothing about sailing and the sea. Scotty recruited me for the Stormy Petrel crew spring of swab year. He pretty much taught me everything I know about sailing. I started out grinding winches and worked my way up from there - always learning from Scotty. First Class year we co-skippered Stormy Petrel, though he was always the best and handled the helm in tight competitions. He was the ultimate sailor’s sailor. The skills I learned from sailing with him served me well as a deck officer in the Coast Guard. I still use the lessons he taught me whenever I sail my laser on Cedar Creek Lake here in Texas.   

Another thing a kid from Arkansas knew nothing about was hockey. This enraged Second Classman Benjy Bryson, who was from Maine. Scotty educated me on the basic knowledge of hockey - teams, players, etc. so I could escape Benjy’s wrath. As Firsties, we would set up a makeshift hockey goal in a corridor. Norm Robb was usually goalie and take shots with a roll of friction tape. The officers wondered why there were black streaks on the walls, but they never figured it out. He also got me out on skates. The high point was First Class year when we went out on a frozen lake and actually played hockey. I never would have had that experience without Scotty. 

  Lastly. Scotty taught me one of the most valuable life hacks I have - how to crack an egg one handed. In high school Scotty had worked in the kitchen at Friendly’s and mastered that art, which he shared with me. It’s a skill that I use whenever Patti and I host guests at our Cedar Creek house. I love to cook breakfast and it’s a handy skill when you have to use a lot of eggs. I have started to teach this skill to our grandchildren.   I regret that our Coast Guard and post-CG careers took us in different directions. Scotty was a great friend, classmate, roommate, and shipmate. He will indeed by missed and always remembered fondly. The photo below captures how I remember Scotty.  

 May God bless you, your mother, and all of your family. 
 Scott  -  Winston Scott Jones, CDR, USCG (Ret.)

Scott in CIC 1970

BayView - Jan 1972

Broken Pole

Delta 1969

Sailing 01

Sailing 02

Scott & Murf

Stormy Petrel


From: Loren Marovelli
Date: 07/10/2022 3:05 PM
Subject: Scotty    

Brett, So sorry to learn of your Dad's health issues and recent passing.

    Your Dad and I were good friends at CGA and I was another Delta Company Guy '68-'70. I remember him always attempting to tie some kind of Turks Head knot or other during study hours.

I was provided the opportunity to tutor your Dad in Differential Equations just prior to his  final exam back then.

 Subsequently, I was invited to your grandparents lakeside cabin for a couple weekends during 2nd class summer and while on our Eagle cruise. We were supposed to make port call in Cape May, NJ but had a last minute change to Boston Harbor anchorage. I was able to conn the Comm's Officer into sending a Msg to our Dates to meet us in Boston instead of Cape May. Last time I saw Scotty, He was CO of the Buoy Tender in Kodiak and I was the Engineer Officer of 378' Morgenthau making port call there. I left the USCG in 1982 as an LCDR and we remained in San Francisco for 20 years followed by another 10 years in the Seattle area (Mukilteo). I was employed as a Navy Port Engineer by COMNAVSURFPAC for 25 years. I had M&R responsibility for a group of (6) Ammunition Carriers in SF Bay Area followed by assignment as SR. Port Engineer for the DESRON in Everett, WA. I Retired early w/ 35 years Federal Service and relo'd to SW Montana in 2006. If U haven't guessed, I am a Fly Fisher and Bird Hunter hence the interest in Montana. I am looking forward to another fishing tip up into AK in future. Has that New AMH Ship started Construction, yet ? I believe it is a design from Glosten, Seattle.  

Best rememberances of your Dad.

  Loren M. Marovelli, PE, USCG Licensed Marine Engineer (Unlimited HP, Diesel, Gas, Steam) aka MARV


From: Hank Blaney
Date: 07/12/2022 10:46 AM

     Brett:   My sincere condolences on the loss of your dad & my classmate.  I pray that the Lord will grant your family the peace you need to get through this difficult time.  I know He will.  

I don't have any funny or exciting stories about your dad, just a few random thoughts.  Whenever I think of Scott Merrill, I picture him in a dungaree (denim) jumper with his Academy dixie cup and one of those white turk's head bracelets that he tied--and with the smile on his face that was so common.  

We never really served together, although I was an Alaska sailor, too, but towards the end of our active duty careers, he was serving in the LANTAREA Cutter Management Branch when I had orders to my last ship, and he and your mom hooked me up with a real estate agent in New Hampshire who found us a home to rent.  

 I always felt a fondness for your dad, despite the fact that we weren't terribly close, and I always had the greatest respect for his being a true CG Cutterman and a very decent human being.  

Again, I pray God's blessings on you and your family,
   Hank Blaney