(405) 722-5262
buchananfuneral@gmail.com
8712 N Council Rd, Oklahoma City, OK 73132

Larry Gene Merriam August 9, 1943 - August 15, 2018

The world is short one wonderful illustration of the way people should live life and treat others. The light of Larry Merriam left this earth on August 15, 2018.  Larry was born to Robert and Naomi Merriam on August 9, 1943 in Zanesville, Ohio. Larry is survived by his wife Kaye, son Christopher of Norman, OK, daughter Lara (Ed) Smith and granddaughter Estella Smith of Ferndale, WA.  He leaves behind one sister Becky (Larry) Updyke of Springfield, Ohio; brothers Richard (Susan) Merriam of Jacksonville, Florida; Robert Merriam of Rippon, CA and several cousins, nieces and nephews.

       Spending over half a century in the oil industry, during college years Larry worked for Oxford Oil in Ohio.  His first job away from Ohio was with Texaco in Houma, Louisiana before moving to California to work for Chevron. There he bought his first car, a 1958 pink Thunderbird, to drive back to Ohio, passing through Oklahoma for the first time and not suspecting it would become home.
      After graduating from Marietta College, Larry earned his Master’s in Petroleum Engineering at Penn State. He was employed by Shell Oil in Ventura California, moving next to Bakersfield to work for Tenneco Oil. In 1970 he returned to Marietta College to teach in the petroleum department where he loved teaching and sharing his infinite love of learning as well as his knowledge.  He was still in contact with a few from those days and always enjoyed hearing of others’ successes. With the birth of his son Chris, academic life, enjoyable as it was, did not pay what was needed so he returned to the oil industry and to Tenneco Oil, this time in Oklahoma City where daughter Lara was born.  From past experience, he was sure he’d be in OKC no longer than two years.  Forty-seven years later, he’s still in OKC!  He enjoyed Tenneco and his friends there and was hit hard by the demise of that company.  Southwest Energy was his next employer until they closed.  
     Luckily for those interested in past cultures, his now suddenly-free time was used to write “The Spiro Mound: a photo essay” with son Chris, a book based on very early photographs taken by Professor Robert Bell from OU when Dr. Bell was a young man.  After that time off, Larry went back into petroleum work at Linn Energy until they made major lay-offs. It saddened him to not be in the midst of a play or not be able to put his knowledge and skills to work but he never lost interest in what was happening. His gentle demeanor, sense of right and subtle humor could diffuse any situation and that was often very beneficial in company meetings.
      Never forgetting his Ohio roots, Larry returned yearly to visit relatives and catch up with friends from high school.  He looked forward to the regularly-scheduled class reunions and set up a web page for that group to share photos and stories with those who couldn’t make the reunions.  Part of a note sent from one of those friends tells a lot although you may be surprised by the football part. “He was one of the smartest students in our school but he still loved to joke around. He was photographer for our Comus year books and you never knew when Larry might show up with his camera. Larry never gave up out on the football field.  Many times I helped assist him from the field after a hit, only to see him return shortly to play his heart out. Coach Velerbone often commented that he wished all our players had Larry’s spirit and stubbornness.”                            
      He continued taking photos and for the past few years, especially enjoyed capturing our beautiful sunsets, his spoiled cats and interesting views from vacations.
      Larry’s expansive and never-forget-any-bit-of-trivia mind was amazing but could be frustrating to those not blessed by such.  A song would begin on his favorite oldies station and immediate questions would come as to who, where recorded, what label and the day it debuted!  Then one would receive the correct answer and even more information as to other songs by that artist, who may or may not have recorded it beforehand, where the artist was born, and so on. Larry was not blessed with a great singing voice but he loved music and would sing with the music, wherever he might be.  Of course, those outbursts would be accompanied by snapping fingers and moving, sometimes causing family members to temporarily claim to not know him. Kaye finally convinced him to just mouth the words at restaurants…most of the time
      Any of you who were lucky enough to have been his friend, worked with him, benefited from his goodness, knowledge and generosity are asked to reflect on the love and positivity Larry shared with this world and use his life as an example.
      Instead of flowers or donations, the family hopes you will remember Larry’s interests in archaeology, prehistorical cultures, and geology by donating books, or funds to purchase books, about those subjects to your chosen school, college or local library.
      Rather than a structured memorial service, a casual reception open to friends to laugh and share stories of this kind, funny and gentle man will be from 3:00 until 5:00 on Saturday, August 18 at Buchanan’s Funeral Home.

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