Merrilee was born July 27, 1947, in Coalville, Utah to William Marchant Judd and Gloria Baker Judd. She spent her childhood in Coalville and Wanship, graduating from North Summit High School, diligently pursuing piano and other musical arts, and working with the lambs on her family ranch. She bottle fed the bum lambs and became extremely fond of one she named “Pet.” She insisted her father spare him, and Pet always responded to her call in the pasture.
She attended Utah State University graduating in elementary education. She married Jack Barratt in 1969 (later divorced) and was a devoted and loving mother to her five children. They too, responded to her calls, even though they were sometimes “Get on the stick!” or “From hell to breakfast!”
She began her career in earnest at Forbes Elementary, teaching multiple grades before becoming the music specialist. As she pursued what had always been her lifelong passion, she tended the souls of her many music students. Music was her call then, and one couldn’t help but respond to her encouragement and instruction. She additionally taught at American Fork High and American Heritage schools. She shared her musical gifts with the American Fork Arts Council, American Fork Children’s Choir, American Fork Symphony, in community theatre and private instruction, and as the ward choir director in every. single.. ward… she ever lived in.
Merrilee loved travel, family parties, shopping for eyeglasses and shoes, animals, and more than anything, her grandchildren, who affectionately referred to her as “Grandma Ellie.”
She married George Parker Hunter in 2006. George and Merrilee embraced each other’s families wholeheartedly, and all were bonded by their love and acceptance. George, too, responded to her, no more so than the last month of her life as he lovingly cared for her.
Merrilee’s ability to build lasting relationships from the time of her childhood to her passing was a testament to her shepherd’s heart. She was truly loved by all.
She was preceded in death by her parents. As she entered heaven, she surely swooped her beloved Ellie dog in one arm and her parents in the other. She is survived by her husband George, and her children: David (Jill) Barratt, Rebecca (Bruce) Hatch, Liza (David) Shelton, Daniel (Angela) Barratt, John (Lindsay) Barratt, Amber (Joel) Hunter, Beau (Emilee) Hunter, Bronco (Jody) Hunter, Chance (Jamie) Hunter, and 20 (going on 21) grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Arlys (Larry) Johanson and her brothers Bill (Nancy) Judd and Bryan (Jill) Judd.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at the Canyon Heights Building, 3785 West Box Elder Drive, Pleasant Grove, Utah. Family and friends may call on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the church, and again on Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 10:30 am at the church prior to services. Interment will be at the American Fork City Cemetery. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.warenski.com.