Cover photo for Larry "Merrill" Shumway's Obituary
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1950 Larry "Merrill" 2021

Larry "Merrill" Shumway

November 21, 1950 — June 10, 2021

Larry Merrill Shumway, 70, passed from this life on June 10, 2021 at his home in Snowflake, AZ.

Merrill was born November 21, 1950 in Moab, Utah, to Arthur Ray and Ardith Zufelt Shumway.  He was their 3rd child.

Momma wrote in her journal, “I knew things weren’t going as they should with this pregnancy.  The Doctor said I would need to have a C-section.  I was so afraid.  I had never had any sort of operation before.”

She entered the hospital the evening before and by 8:30 the next morning it was all over and they had the most beautiful little auburn haired boy.  He weighed 7 lbs.  She wrote, “If ever a baby was spoiled it was he.  The nurses carried him around the hospital showing him off.  He is the best natured little fellow.  Spoiling didn’t seem to bother him.”

Merrill was a big tease.  He loved teasing JoLyn because she was easy to scare.  He’d stand behind Cousin Pete and pretend he was fighting him, making jokes all the time.  One time when Uncle Ted drove up, Merrill came running over to the car and threw a garden snake into his lap.  Uncle Ted was afraid of snakes.  Good thing Merrill out ran him!

His family had a big garden every year.  It was the job of the kids to weed the garden.  Dick and JoLyn would work fast before it got to hot.  Merrill, would sit on the ground and find all kinds of ways not to weed his rows.  JoLyn said that he hated any kind of work.  “It would take him an hour to put on one sock!”

Momma died when Merrill was 11.  It was a hard time for him and his siblings.  Daddy soon remarried and Dick, JoLyn and Merrill had a difficult time with their step-mother so our dear Aunt Joan stepped in and helped raise them.

He started early helping in uranium mines with his family and extended family.  Polar Mesa, Cane Springs, Yellow Circle, and Seven mile mines to name a few.   

After graduating from Grand County High in 1969, he started making a few wrong decisions and was encouraged to join the military.  So on March 18th, 1970 he enlisted in the Army.  He served in the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged October 12, 1971.

On October 27, 1973 he married Chris McClatchey.  Also in that year, he and daddy got a drill rig and they started searching for more deposits of uranium around Moab.  In just a few years the market for uranium bottomed out.

In 1978 they moved to Thayer, Kansas were he drilled for oil and gas.  In 1988 they moved back to Moab and they divorced. 

In the 90’s he moved to Arizona.  He married Renie Fletcher, July 16th, 1994.  He helped Daddy in Payson with his gold mill before moving to Snowflake, Arizona in 1998, where he started Shumway Water Well Systems. 

Merrill learned a lot from our Dad.  How to be patient with his kids.  He didn’t yell or spank.  Sometimes he’d try to give them a boot to the bottom but he usually missed.  He loved a good horse.  He rode well and trained them as Daddy taught him.  In Kansas he started racing horses and later in life he really liked to go to Ruidoso to watch the horse races.  He loved being the rodeo dad hauling horses to events for the girls to compete.  He took the kids to work with him and taught them how to do what he was doing.  If they ever questioned him, he always said, “Girls, there’s the right way, the wrong way and the Shumway.  Right now, we’re gonna Shumway it!”

He was a great salesman, as Dick would say, “Merrill could sell ice water to Alaska,   and he had the gift of gab”.  He loved people.  He had a great sense of humor and could make friends with anyone.  His rig hands usually ended up being his best friends.  They would spend more time driving around talking about the good old days and dreams of what’s to come, rather than making it to the jobsite early.  In Merrill’s later days, it was usually his rig hands that had to talk Merrill into work, but they were always a good team and had some great times and good laughs.   

He was raised on deer steak and gravy and well peppered homemade jerky.  He loved black cherries, halibut, Vienna sausages, hot tuna sandwiches, Velveeta cheese, and strawberry shakes from McDonalds.

His Bishop asked him to serve in the library each Sunday.  He didn’t pause, he didn’t think, he just told him yes.  He thought it was a cake job because he didn’t think there was even a library in the church.  As Renie and Merrill were leaving the Bishop’s office, Renie pointed to the big letters on the library door. He was incredibly surprised when she showed him.  Now he was going to have to be at the church early each and every Sunday.  Merrill went and ended up just loving it!  And since Merrill was a talker he got to visit with many of the people he had grown to know and love since moving to Snowflake. 

Merrill is survived by his wife, Renie.  His children, Corbie (Sarah), Kali (Josh), Tyler (Shalece), Ashton (TC), and Kodi, and 9 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.  Siblings Pandora, Kevin, Vickie Bud and Shane.

He was greeted in Heaven by his parents, brother Dick, sisters JoLyn and Heidi and Coral his step-daughter.  I’m sure it’s an exciting reunion because he missed them all so much.

A celebration of Merrill’s life will be held on July 16th at 6:00 pm at Merrill and Renie’s home in Snowflake, with a military salute.  He will be missed by many, but it is just a short time and we’ll meet again!

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Celebration of Life

Friday, July 16, 2021

Starts at 6:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

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