EVERTON, Ark. - Col. Ronnie R. Merwin, USAF, MC (Ret.) D.O., formerly of Niagara, Wis., died on Wednesday, May 6, 2009, one week after a major stroke. He had been vacationing with his wife, Betty when he become ill.
He was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on Aug. 19, 1935. "Doc" as he was known locally, had a distinguished career both as a physician and a member of the United States Air Force. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1955 and served as a laboratory technician.
Upon discharge, he then attended Lamar University in Texas and received his D.O. degree at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1963. He served an internship in Kansas City and a residency in Detroit. It was at that time he was a physician in Niagara, Wis, from 1974-1976. In 1976, he rejoined the U.S. Air Force. He practiced as a family physician and military flight surgeon at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. and as hospital commander at Griffiss Air Force Base, S.C. He served as Vice Commander, North American Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. and was team chief of the Norton IG Team, California. From Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., he deployed to Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield, establishing and commanding a field hospital there.
During his military career, he was awarded the following decorations: Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with two Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Southwest Asia Service Medal with one Bronze Star.
He retired from the Air Force in January 1993, and subsequently practiced medicine in Harrison for several years. Ron genuinely cared about people and never met a stranger.
Survivors include his wife, Betty Jo Merwin at home in Everton; sons, Mark Merwin and wife, Kathy of Belle Meade, N.J. and Dan Merwin of Uxbridge, Mass.; a daughter, Lauri Laudano of Austin, Texas; a sister, Lurine Yardley and husband, Jack of Waco, Texas and a brother, Ralph Merwin, D.O. of Harrison; grandchildren, Sarah Merwin, Allison Laudano and Dale Bobar.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George Eaton Merwin and Carrie Louise Crim Merwin and his dog, Sonja.
Ron was a lifelong Baptist, attending First Baptist Church of Valley Springs where memorial services will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 21.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the First Baptist Church, Valley Springs, Ark. 72682 or "Hospice of the Hills," 501 East Sherman, Harrison, Ark., 72601 or an organization of your choice.