Miami, Florida – Merrill Wayne Crews, husband of the late Peggy (Dulin) Crews (2010), died peacefully in his sleep on May 18, 2023. Merrill was born in Washington, D.C., on November 26, 1938, and raised by his parents Eldred and Eva (Ryan) Crews, in Culpeper, Virginia.
Merrill attended Culpeper public schools, where he met his future wife Peggy in Kindergarten. Merrill graduated from Greenbriar Preparatory Academy, received a Bachelor of Science Degree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech University), and a Master of Business Administration in Health Care from The George Washington University. After serving as a First Lieutenant in the Army Reserves, Merrill and Peggy relocated to South Florida to pursue his healthcare career. Merrill worked for the South Florida Hospital Association in Orlando and was later elected President of the Florida Hospital Association. He operated several hospitals in South Florida, including Jackson Memorial Hospital, Boca Raton Community Hospital, Larkin Community Hospital, Homestead Hospital, and eventually retired as CEO of South Miami Hospital in 1991.
Merrill and Peggy were devoted community volunteers. Merrill was a member of the Orange Bowl Committee for over 30 years and eventually proudly welcomed both sons into membership, where they remain active today. They were heavily involved with the Rotary Club of Miami (past President) and the YMCA of South Florida, devoting much time to the YMCA relief efforts following Hurricane Andrew. Merrill also served as the President of the Humane Society of Greater Miami, a long-time member of the Board of the First National Bank of South Miami, and was involved in local politics.
After retiring from healthcare administration, Merrill pursued many interests. He and Peggy traveled the world taking biking tours of Italy, Ireland, England, Austria, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. They also learned to play golf and enjoyed many golf trips in the United States and Europe, including St. Andrews Old Course in Scotland. Merrill's love for gardening inspired an abundant backyard vegetable garden and the eventual operation of a lovely plant nursery in Palmetto Bay. He and Peggy could be found side by side many days at the nursery, tending to the beautiful, colorful impatiens. Merrill and Peggy were members of Wayside Baptist Church and, later, Pinecrest Presbyterian Church. When not traveling or gardening, they enjoyed tennis and friendship at the Royal Palm Tennis Club, where they both served as past presidents. After Peggy's passing, Merrill continued his travels to Alaska, Cuba, and Argentina. He also pursued his final vocation, serving as a substitute teacher at Homestead Charter, BioTECH Senior High School, and Coral Reef High School, where he was affectionately known as "Coach." Merrill was quick to comment that other than the joy found in his family's company, his most satisfaction came from working with the youth in the Miami area schools.
Merrill is survived by his two sons; Kevin (Connie); Shawn (Evans), and Grandchildren; Kevin and Joseph Crews; Attie and Callie Crews and nieces Jan Jensen (Jon), Lori Smith (Roger), Sherri Wirtz (Chris) and nephew Charles (Chuck) Polis Jr. (Debbie). He is predeceased by his parents, Peggy, his wife of 48 years, and his sister Jean (Ryan) Derry.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Royal Palm Tennis Club in Miami, Florida on July 15, 2023.