Merrill K. Davis, 75, prominent Utah attorney, legislator and civic leader, died Thursday of natural causes at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Born in Salt Lake City on June 18, 1915 to Atha Earl and Barta Nielson Davis, he attended Sumner elementary, Roosevelt Junior High and East High School. He received his law degree from the University of Utah. He married Ione McKean on July 20, 1948. She was serving her second term on the Salt Lake City Council when she died on February 26, 1985.Mr. Davis was named "Outstanding Young Man of Utah for 1948" by the Utah Junior Chamber of Commerce. He was a special agent for the FBI prior to his entry on Active duty with the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Division during World War II. In 1946 he returned to Salt Lake City to practice law. The same year he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives where he served for eight years in various leadership positions including floor leader, Republican Party "Whip," Speaker of the House, and chairman of the State Legislative Council.
From 1955 to 1958 he served in the State Senate. He was commissioner of the State Library Board for six years. He was a former president of the Young Republican Clubs of Utah, chairman of the 11-State Western Council of Young Republicans and national vice chairman of the Young Republican Federation. He was executive secretary of the Utah Association of Insurance Agents and a member of the Salt Lake County Bar, Utah State Bar and American Bar Association.
He was a founder and former president of the Salt Lake Swimming and Tennis Club. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Social Fraternity holding positions as Grand Trustee and Grand Praetor, and served on the Executive committee. He was also a member of the American Legion and University Club. Active member of Monument Park 11th Ward of the LDS Church.
He is survived by four daughters: Mrs. Teena (Mike) James, Palo Alto, CA.; Mrs. Liz (Bruce) Grable, Mrs. Becky (Steve) McDermott, and Mrs. Amy (Gordon) Carmen; brother, Howard E. Davis, all of Salt Lake City; and seven grandchildren. A sister, Madolyn D. Peterson preceded him in death.
A "Celebration of Life" gathering of family and friends will be held Monday from 6 to 8 pm at the Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 East 1300 South.
Funeral services will be conducted at 12 Noon Tuesday at the Monument Park 17th Ward chapel, 2795 East Crestview Drive (10th South), with visitation from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Interment, Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Youth Tennis Foundation, P.O. Box 2009, SLC, UT 84110.
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