Marianne Merritt (J.D. ’90)

Marianne Merritt of Liberty Hill, Texas, passed away Saturday, July 4th, 2020 after a valiant fight against metaplastic breast cancer.

Marianne was born Dec 29, 1962, in Monahans, Tx, to Robert Neely Merritt and Marjorie Nell Reed Merritt, both Jacksonville, Tx natives. Following a family move to Conroe, Tx in 1971, Marianne formed lasting friendships and realized her talents in music, choir and theater arts. After high school graduation in 1981 Marianne was accepted into The University of Texas at Austin and in 1985 obtained a degree in English and secondary education. After a summer tour of Europe, she accepted her first job, teaching 7th grade English in Huntsville, Tx. When asked about that job, she said teaching was a stage performance. To do her job well she had to give such an entertaining performance that her students had no choice but to listen and learn. In 1986, after some beers and bonding with her Dad, an agreement was made that if Marianne could pass the Law School Entry Exam, good old Dad would foot the bill. Four years later they both won the bet and Marianne received her law degree from the University of Houston.

Marianne began her legal career working at a law firm in Houston and quickly realized that environment was not her cup of tea. She relocated to Austin and, following in her Dad’s footsteps, accepted a position as a title examiner for First Security Title, utilizing her knowledge in real estate law to become an invaluable asset to that company. In 1996, she accepted a position as Branch Manager for First American Title. It was there that she met the love of her life whom she would later marry, Bonnie Patton. In 1999, they welcomed two precious children to complete their family, Evan Reese and Savannah Rose.

She used to say she was never a ‘real lawyer’, and once said that she would never be a great lawyer because she didn’t like to argue. Truth be told, no one stood a chance against her arguments. Her quick wit and unique perspective educated, enlightened, and inspired all who knew her. If she was passionate about something, your only option was to sit and listen because you were about to be ‘taken to school’.

When Marianne was diagnosed with breast cancer on May 17, 2019, she faced it with bravery and her typical humor, referring to the cancer as “no more than a blip on my radar”, while going through chemo, surgery and radiation to become cancer free. When asked by friends how she was doing, she would respond with “Well, I’m above the dirt and that’s the best way to spend your day!” A year later, on May 27, 2020 when the cancer resurfaced in both lungs, she forged ahead with chemo and immunotherapy infusions, while displaying that ‘Bring It On’ optimism and determination to slay the dragon, just as she had done before. As it became clear that this mountain was just too steep to climb, she continued to fight for and cherish every moment with her family until the very end.

Marianne leaves behind, but will continue to walk beside, her spouse of 24 years, Bonnie Patton, their twins, Reese and Savannah Merritt of Liberty Hill, her sister, Glynna Merritt White and brother-in-law Bob White, of Jacksonville, Tx, nephews Bryan Merritt White and Garrett Reed White, of Houston, and her beloved dogs, IzzyKy and Cesar.

Our daily message to Marianne – “We are stronger and we are better because of you. More!” Bon, Savannah & Reese

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, a gathering of friends and family is not possible, but a Celebration of Marianne’s life will be held at an appropriate time.

A Special thank you to the staff at Texas Oncology, Cedar Park; your caring and kindness were truly appreciated. A very special thank you to Lisa from Kindred Hospice for your guidance and assistance thru those final hours.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society in Marianne’s memory.

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