Dr. O.L. Merritt, age 91, of Morristown, TN, passed away on Monday, May 31, 2021. Dr. Merritt was born and reared in Washburn (Puncheon Camp Community,) TN, graduating from Washburn High School and then from Lincoln Memorial University with a BS degree. After receiving his medical degree from the University of Tennessee, he did his internship at Knoxville General Hospital and at UT Hospital in Knoxville and was one of the first medical residents at UT when the hospital opened in the late 1950’s.
Dr. Merritt served as a captain in the U.S. Army and spent 16 months as a medical officer in Korea. After his discharge from the army, he practiced medicine for one year in Corryton, TN, and in 1960 moved to Dandridge, TN, establishing what would become a 35-year medical practice. In addition, Dr. Merritt, a member of the AKK medical fraternity, became one of the first physicians on staff at the newly opened Jefferson Memorial Hospital in 1960. Since moving to Dandridge, Dr. Merritt has been a faithful member of the First United Methodist Church Dandridge. He also served five years as a Jefferson County School Commissioner and was the Jefferson County medical examiner for many years. Dr. Merritt, a longtime member of the Lions Club, served on the board of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and was the medical director for the Jefferson County Nursing Home for several years.
Professionally, Dr. Merritt was a member of the AMA and TMA and was a member of the Lakeway Medical Society, where he served as president. He was also a member of the American Academy of Family Practice and the Board of Family Practice.
In 1955, while an intern at Knoxville General Hospital, Dr. Merritt met his future bride Bobbie Kitts, an x-ray technician there. She has been his constant, loving companion for over 66 years, and after his retirement in 1995, the two traveled abroad and throughout the United States, side by side, loving each new adventure together. Dr. Merritt is preceded in death by his parents Elvin and Lydia Merritt. Although he considered himself extremely blessed in many ways, Dr. Merritt felt he was especially blessed by his wonderful family. He is survived by his loving wife Bobbie (Kitts), his daughter June Ann (Buddy) Jones, and his son David (Holly) Merritt. He also leaves behind five precious grandchildren, Bruce (Tessa) Jones, Lauren (Clint) Strange, Heather Merritt, Jessica Merritt, and Kensley Merritt and two treasured great-grandchildren, Emerson and Merritt Jones.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, June 3, 2021 from 5:00pm until 7:00pm at Dandridge First United Methodist Church with a funeral service to follow at 7:00pm with Dr. Steven Brown officiating. A graveside service will take place on Friday, June 4, 2021 at 12:00pm at Greenwood Cemetery in Knoxville, TN. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dandridge First United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 8, Dandridge, TN 37725.
Arrangements by Farrar Funeral Home, Dandridge, TN.