School 07

Helen E. (Otto) Merriman

January 10, 1928 ~ August 28, 2019 (age 91)


Helen E. Merriman, 91, of Fillmore, Illinois, passed away Wednesday, August 28, 2019, at her home, Fillmore, IL.

Services will be held at 11:00 AM, Saturday, August 31, 2019, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Ramsey, IL, with Father Scott Snider, officiating. Burial will follow at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Ramsey, IL. Visitation will be held from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM, Saturday, August 31, 2019, at Miller Funeral Home, Ramsey, IL. Memorials: St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Ramsey, IL. Miller Funeral Home, Ramsey, IL, is in charge of arrangements. Online memories and condolences may be shared with the family at

She was born January 10, 1928, in Ramsey, IL, the daughter of Martin Bernard & Sara Jane (Bergin) Otto. Married Russell Burwin "Bur" Merriman on May 8, 1948, Ramsey, IL. She was a Retired Teacher at Knowles Country 1-Room Schoolhouse; Homemaker; Member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and Altar & Rosary Society, Ramsey, IL, and received the Women of Distinction award from the Springfield Diocese Council for Catholic Women. Helen was an active member with the Montgomery County Farm Bureau Women's Association; American Legion Auxiliary #460 of Fayette County; and past member of the Montgomery Home Extension Fillmore Group.

She is survived by: Husband - Russell "Bur" Merriman, Fillmore, IL; Sons - Larry Merriman & Anita, Ramsey, IL, Mark Merriman & Jan, Fillmore, IL and  Steve Merriman & Lisa, Vandalia, IL; Daughters - Brenda Cline & Mike, Joliet, MT, Cathy Manning & Brent, Pawnee, IL and Carol Eickhoff & Danny, Hillsboro, IL; 10 Grandchildren; and 18 Great Grandchildren. 

Preceded in death by: Parents; Brother - Richard Otto; and Twin Great Grandchildren - Emma & Ella.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Helen E. (Otto) Merriman, please visit our floral store.


August 31, 2019

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Miller Funeral Home
301 East Main Street
Ramsey, IL 62080

Mass of Christian Burial
August 31, 2019

11:00 AM
St. Joseph Catholic Church
118 E. Main St.
Ramsey. IL, IL 62080

August 31, 2019

11:00 AM
St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery
3000 West 1st Street
Ramsey, IL 62080

Please note
On August 28, 2019, Helen Eileen (Otto) Merriman joined her parents and brother in Heaven. Born on January 10, 1928, to Martin and Sara (Bergin) Otto, Helen grew up on a small dairy farm just south of Ramsey, Illinois, with her brother Richard. Cousins Margaret (Holbrook) Slater and James Reiss were near constant companions as children through to adulthood. After school, Helen went to Eastern Illinois University for training to become a school teacher at Knowles Country School a rural one-room schoolhouse. The shy Helen had quite an adventure traveling with her classmates all across the U.S., visiting the Alamo, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore and more before it was all finished. Before leaving on that once-in-a-lifetime trip, Helen caught the eye of a young soldier from Fillmore just returned from the Pacific theatre of WWII, Russell Burwin “Bur” Merriman. Burwin and Helen got to know each other spending time at the soda fountain and skating rink in Vandalia, IL. When Helen returned from her trip, Burwin and his mother drove to Charleston to pick her up, stopping at Pana on the way to buy an engagement ring. Helen was still floating from the high of seeing the world and was not sure she wanted to settle down with “a farmer from Fillmore.” Burwin was undeterred. Two proposals later (maybe three, but who’s counting?), Helen said Yes! And with their wedding on May 8, 1948, so began an epic romance spanning seven decades. In those seventy plus years, they were blessed with six children. When they “started coming in twos,” Helen was officially out of the baby business. Though the 70’s were a bit sticky, each of those blue-eyed beauties grew up strong and kind with equal doses of doting and discipline, faithfulness, service and silliness. Helen’s prayers were answered when one-by-one those children found their perfect partner and built lives mirroring the love they had witnessed growing up. In time, they in turn gave Burwin and Helen 10 Grandchildren, who more than doubled their presence with a throng of more than 20 great-grandchildren. Several of those grandchildren made their way to adulthood in no small part thanks to the power of their Grandma’s prayers. When she and Burwin were not travelling around the country for Army reunions or road tripping out West to visit Brenda, Helen lived her adult life as the quintessential God-loving farmer’s wife. She worked hard every moment the sun was up, whether tending her chickens, working in her garden or flower beds, making gigantic and delicious noon dinners for those working on the farm or visiting, sending cards for every birthday and anniversary, quilting, caring for family members, visiting nursing home residents, cooking for funeral dinners or other church events, or scrubbing the warm and inviting home she built to welcome any and every one. Nothing made Helen happier than spending time with friends and family. Whether sharing Thanksgiving with the other half of the Merrimans, Easter dinner in the church basement, Christmas gatherings, reunions at Fillmore Lake, birthday parties, wiener roasts, or just a drop-in visit, Helen found joy in every moment spent in the company of others. She’s been aptly described as fierce. She loved fiercely. She worked fiercely. She believed fiercely. She was all these things while still being startlingly funny. Those who were lucky enough to know her and to love her, are counting the days until they get to see her again. Helen is joined in Heaven by her parents, brother, and great grandbabies she never met on Earth. Celebrating her life and mourning their loss are the love of her life Burwin; her Children – Brenda and Mike Cline, Larry and Anita Merriman, Cathy and Brent Manning, Carol and Danny Eickhoff, Steve and Lisa Merriman, and Mark and Jan Merriman; her Grandkids (great and otherwise) – Chris and Tammy Cline with Dallas, Ashlynn, and Abrenna; Lorri and Josh Gregor with Hunter and Lexi; Kara Merriman with Ben and Delaney; Sarah and John Kerley with Samantha and Jack; Erin and Jeb Williamson with Braden and Michaela; Cory and Emily Merriman with Emmett, Alana, and Daisy; Kurt and Angie Merriman with Colton; Amy and Brandon Potthoff with Andrew and Daniel; Jessica and Matt Saey with Lucy; Natalie and Nathan Grider with Hadley and Caroline; and also very special to her heart Autumn and Auni Wollin.
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