To the Family and Friends of Lui Merlino:
We announce with sadness the death of our Dad, Lui Merlino, on November 7, 2019, aged 96
years (and 88 days), at his Phoenix home of nearly 60 years. As will come as no surprise to
everyone who knew Dad, he died when, where and how he wanted. An inveterate packrat, Dad
said good-bye surrounded by his family and his accumulated gear--several cars, a lifetime
collection of Western paraphernalia, and just the occasional bottle of whisky.
Luis Americo Merlino was born on August 11, 1923, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Margaret
(Zona) and Joseph Merlino, a Sicilian immigrant. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1941 and served
in the Pacific theatre during WWII. With his cousin, he operated a construction business in
Hingham, Massachusetts, before moving to Arizona in 1956. According to Dad, his first job in
Arizona was painting the numerals and stripes on the runways at Luke AFB. From that
beginning, Dad continued in the construction industry in Phoenix and Scottsdale, operating his
own general contracting firm for more than 40 years.
Among his civic activities, Dad was a member of the Verde Vaqueros, a cowboy charity
supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Scottsdale, for more than 35 years. He participated in
nearly 30 of its Annual Rides and served on its board of directors for more than 25 years. He
was also a founding member, lifelong supporter and president (serving twice) of the Paradise
Valley Rotary Club.
Dad is survived by his wife, Linda, his five children and step-children, and his many
grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
We are particularly grateful for the dedicated assistance of Dad’s support team, Diego
Moncibaez, Cindy Nelson and Vera Grende, without whom Dad could not have enjoyed his last
Memorial services will be at Shadow Mountain Mortuary, 2350 E Greenway Road, at 12:30 PM
on Tuesday, November 19, with burial immediately following at the National Memorial Cemetery
of Arizona. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Paradise Valley Rotary
Foundation (Luis Merlino Vocational Scholarship).
We will host a reception for all of Dad’s friends that afternoon in his back yard. As he would
have insisted, there will be Western music, cowboy fare and drinks from Dad’s accumulated
inventory (together with souvenirs for everyone from the latter).
November 9, 2019