Funeral Service Details
Celebration of Life:
Friday, November 18, 2022
Anaheim United Methodist Church
Phoebe Theone Merriman was born in Mitchell, South Dakota, on October 31, 1933. Her mother, Rosalie Mathilda (Tiede) Merriman and her father, John Wesley Merriman were married in 1928. They farmed land near Wessington Springs, South Dakota. In August, 1934, when Phoebe was almost 10 months old, her mother, Rosalie, died. It was Rosalie’s dying wish that Phoebe’s uncle (John’s brother) and aunt, James and Pauline Merriman, raise Phoebe as their daughter, which they did. Jim and Pauline, who also farmed land near Wessington Springs, already had a son of their own, Robert Merriman. They became a happy family of four.
Phoebe and her brother, Bob, attended a small one-room schoolhouse for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Phoebe and Bob would ride a horse to school, however they had to cross a bridge on the way, and occasionally the horse would buck them off and they would have to walk back home, where their dad would put them back on the horse and send them off again. They grew up on the farm with no electricity or running water. Farming was very difficult in those days. Finally, in 1941, they had a good crop and along came another cyclone, which wiped out their farm. They decided that they had enough of farming and, in October, 1941, they moved to Anaheim, California a little town in Orange County.
Phoebe attended Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, John Fremont Junior High School and Anaheim Union High School, graduating in June, 1951. She then attended Fullerton Junior College where she majored in bookkeeping. During high school she worked part-time at the Kress Store in downtown Anaheim, Conklin Printing, Anaheim, then after college, she was a full-time bookkeeper at the Bank of America.
Shortly after graduating from high school she met Richard Cecil Gray, who had just moved to town. They dated and were married on March 17, 1953. She continued working at the Bank of America until they began a family and devoted herself to being a very good mother instead of continuing her bookkeeping career.
Phoebe loved crafts, sewing and quilting. During their early years of marriage, Phoebe sewed most of her own clothes and made quite a few clothes for the boys. Thanks to her mother’s influence, she was also a very good cook.
Phoebe and Dick active members of their church, which changed names from White Temple Methodist Church, to First Methodist Church and then Anaheim United Methodist Church, where Phoebe was a member of the choir and various committees.
Phoebe was preceded in death by her son Dennis and is survived by her husband of 69 years: Richard, Anaheim; sons: Donald, San Antonio, Texas; David, West Milford, New Jersey; Dean, Manhattan Beach, California; one granddaughter: Ashley Patching; eight grandsons: Jeffrey Davies, Kyle, Alexander, Christopher, Brett, Scott Adam & Eric Gray; three great-grandsons, Lucas Davies, Connor Gray, Colton Gray; four great-granddaughters, Elizabeth & Summer Gray, Katelyn Davies & Grace Patching; one step-brother: William Merriman, Carrington, North Dakota; three half-sisters: Mary Ann Hopper, Woonsocket, South Dakota; Deloris Reider, Woonsocket, South Dakota; and Carol Sagedahl, Fairmont, Minnesota.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donating to her Memorial Fund at Anaheim United Methodist Church.