Cover photo for Richard E Merkling's Obituary
Richard E Merkling Profile Photo
1925 Richard 2017

Richard E Merkling

November 4, 1925 — July 24, 2017

Lieutenant General Richard E. Merkling died peacefully, surrounded by his family, on July 24, 2017 at the age of 92.

Richard is survived by his loving wife, Anne Merkling; his sister, Jane Fahlman; his children, John Merkling, Vicki Tarallo, Carol Vilate and Mark Merkling; his 16 grandchildren; and, his 15 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his sister, Shirley Goodman.

Richard was born on November 4, in 1925, in Kendallville, Indiana and moved with his family to Los Angeles, California in 1932. In 1938 he met his future wife, Anne, in grammar school, and the two were married eight years later in 1946. He earned degrees from Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, the University of California, Los Angeles and George Washington University.

General Merklings distinguished military career began in the Army Air Forces Reserves and was called to active duty in January 1944. He later became an aviation cadet, a fighter pilot and a test pilot. In his thirty-four years of service, he saw four wars and flew over four hundred combat missions. He finished his career as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and Engineering for the Air Force.

His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with four oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 16 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.

Richard was an active and dedicated member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into which he was baptized as a member while living in Tokyo, Japan. In addition to numerous contributions, he and Anne were called to and served as Temple workers, a role which they both cherished.

Richard will be remembered as a kind, generous and loving husband, father and grandfather. His demeanor was not one you would expect from a man who once engaged in a dogfight with a Russian pilot in the skies over North Korea, but instead, that of someone who demonstrated compassion, love and steadiness to all of those who were lucky enough to know him.

A memorial service to celebrate Richards life will take place at Greers Mortuary in Sedona, Arizona at 11:30 pm on July 27, with the burial immediately following. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Richards life. Condolences can be sent to 235 Circle Drive, Sedona, Arizona 86336. Memorial donations may be made to a non-profit associated with Richards family at:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard E Merkling, please visit our flower store.


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