Richard L Merritt
(August 8, 1933 - November 19, 2005)

This is an e-mail my younger brother, Theo, sent out to friends and family...
November 20, 2005

Hello,

I am saddened to report that my father passed away yesterday (Nov 19, 2005), following complications from a fall suffered last weekend. As some of you may know, Vati had been battling the increasing effects of Parkinson's Disease for the last several years, which no doubt contributed to the fall which sent him to the hospital. While recovering from the fall, however, he unfortunately contracted pneumonia, and while he initially showed progress in fighting that affliction, things took a turn for the worse on Thursday and he never recovered. He leaves behind a wife, three sons, and two grandchildren, all of whom will miss him greatly.

As I commented to my wife this morning, as we read his obituary in the morning paper, I find it hard to condense the life of a person into a couple paragraphs. Vati was so much more than list of college degrees, publications, and positions held. He was a devoted husband who loved my mother very much. He was a strong father who made sure that his sons grew up to be able to face the world and whatever challenges it threw their way. And although he only had five months with his granddaughter Annaliesa, I knew from the sparkle in his eyes whenever he saw her that he would have been the wonderful "spoil-her-rotten" granddad that all granddads want to be. It was a short five months, but we're thankful that he got to meet her.

As the obit says, Vati was a cyclist and loved cats, but he loved so much more. He enjoyed good food and drink, telling and hearing funny and entertaining stories, teaching his children about life and the way of the world. He enjoyed travelling, both in this country (I will never forget the trips Vati and I went on several summers) and abroad. He enjoyed visiting foreign cities and learning about their culture and food (especially food!). And he enjoyed sitting around the house reading books, scritching cats, and talking with his family.

He did not, however, like funerals, and as such there will be no funeral or memorial service. But as Thanksgiving rolls around and you're sitting at the dinner table with your loved ones, if you could take a moment when dessert comes around, especially if it's chocolate cake or ice cream, to raise a forkful to my father, I think he would like that. I know we would.

Theo

and here is the e-mail that went out with the latest Rentertainment update...
Hello Everyone,

Today I am saddened to report that my father, Richard Merritt, passed away this past Saturday morning. My earliest memories of watching great films were with him and my brothers at my early birthday parties (when I was five). He and my mother would rent a projector and some movies (they were on film back then) and we would spend the afternoon watching the films of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy. We would also go to many of the film festivals in the University YMCA's Latzer Hall, Lincoln Hall, Channing Murray and McKinley Foundation. My parents were also instrumental in promoting a number of local film festivals (primarily involving German films) and "happenings" in the late sixties and early seventies. Those were the days that made me interested in film and led me to eventually open That's Rentertainment (and fill it with all of the best movies I could find).

I will always think of my father as a great man who inspired me and taught me more than I could ever express in words. I will miss him.

Geoffrey

Colwell
Here is one of my favorite pictures of my father (Vati) with Christopher and me...
For more information click on any of these: biography, obituary, memorial, publications, photos
click here to see more pictures of Annaliesa, Christine and Theo's daughter (Vati's grand-daughter).