Merrick Phillip Brow, 64, of Idaho Falls, passed away on October 13, 2023 from leukemia in Idaho Falls. His sudden and unexpected death came as a shock to all who knew him. We remember his humor and his quiet confidence, his ability to handle any situation and find solutions for most problems. He talked to everyone, and everyone he talked with became a friend. We wish he could have stayed with us for many more years.
Merrick was born July 31,1958 in Bourne, Massachusetts, the second of Robert Duane and Laura Gertrude Brow’s three sons. Bobby, the eldest, died when Merrick was six. An Air Force brat, Merrick attended nearly 30 schools before graduating from high school, including two years in the Philippines where he and school friends visited an Igorot tribe. The family moved to Birch Run, Michigan, spending weekends at his grandparents’ home on Hubbard Lake and visiting with a large clan of cousins.
After graduating high school, Merrick volunteered for the Navy where he served 10 years in the submarine service. He met his wife, Sandra Dutky, at a Dungeons and Dragons game while stationed in San Diego, California. After his discharge from the Navy, Merrick worked as a claims adjustor, then worked as a handyman for Litton software, where Sandy worked as a computer programmer. They married in 1989. Merrick and Sandy bought a house in San Diego, where his brother Phil joined them for three years. Merrick and Phil’s father died in 1995. In 1994, Merrick started sailing on seagoing commercial vessels. He joined first the Seaman’s International Union and later the American Maritime Officers union, as he worked his way up from QMED to Chief Engineering Officer. He sailed to ports on five continents and north of the arctic circle. Before retiring in 2022, he worked as Chief Engineer on U.S. Navy T-AGS ships, measuring ocean depths and currents.
In 2003, Sandy retired from her job and they moved to Idaho Falls. They purchased a home near her sister’s family - Marsha, David and 14-year-old Rivka Nipper- while Merrick continued sailing. The Brows started a political discussion group, and Merrick created a studio in the basement for his stained and fused glass experiments. Over several years the two families, Brows and Nippers, cared for Sandy and Marsha’s elderly parents, an aunt, and David’s mother. Merrick quit his job temporarily to help his brother Phil care for their mother, Laura, in her last months.
When, in March, 2022, Merrick retired from sailing, he was still nursing broken ribs from a snap roll in the North Atlantic that threw him across his cabin. As he healed, he investigated new possibilities in his glass work and took time to build a backyard deck. He and brother-in-law David spent as much time as they could exploring the backroads and ATV trails of Idaho for photo shoots and mushrooming missions. He enjoyed sending silly pictures to his niece Rivka, driving to visit family in Michigan, playing Scrabble with Sandy and watching Jeopardy with her. They met friends for breakfast on Tuesday mornings, and for weekly games of Pinochle and Mexican Train. Merrick loved music from 70’s rock to Irish folk songs to classical music. He followed news analyses, politics, podcasts, comic strips, and cat videos. He planned to travel with Sandy in their fifth wheel, to continue remodeling the house, and to xeriscape the yard.
Merrick was a man of strong opinions, yet rarely argued with anyone. Rather, he looked for ways to resolve differences and find common ground. He was a loving and affectionate husband, brother, friend, and uncle who died much too soon; he will be warmly remembered and greatly missed.
And since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not,
I’ll gently rise and softly call, “Good night, and joy be with you all.”
The Parting Glass, Irish folk song
Merrick is survived by his wife, Sandra Brow and his brother Philip Brow.