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Joseph "Joe" Merritt '63 July 25, 2023 4:13 PM updated: July 28, 2023 10:38 AM

Joseph Claude Merritt 

August 17, 1941 - July 18, 2023 

Joseph Claude Merritt, 81, “Papa Joe”, passed away on July 18, 2023 in Bryan, Texas. He was born on August 17, 1941 in Colorado City, Texas.

Joe attended Colorado City High School and furthered his education at Texas A&M University. He was a member of Company G-1 and the Ross Volunteers in The Corps of Cadets. After graduating from A&M, he proudly served as a First Lieutenant in the Army during the Vietnam War. As a Mechanical Engineer and the owner of Dixie Iron Works, Joe had a successful career. He applied his expertise and dedication to his work, leaving a lasting impact in his field.

Outside of his professional life, Joe enjoyed various outdoor hobbies including hunting, fishing, golfing, gardening, and working at the Agua Poquita Ranch. After retiring, Joe and Carolyn enjoyed many cool and beautiful summers at the cabin in Almont, Colorado.

He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Alice, Texas. He served on bank and school boards in South Texas and was a board member of the Association of Former Students and participated in their Leadership Council. Supporting Texas A&M Athletic and Academic Programs and taking trips with Traveling Aggies brought him lots of joy; he was a loyal Texas Aggie fan and loved being at Kyle Field and Reed Arena.

He was preceded in death by his brother, David Merritt; parents, Imogene and Ford Merritt; brother-in-law, Jay Shimer; and parents-in-law, Corinne and Johnny Shimer.

Joe is survived by his loving wife, Carolyn Shimer Merritt; daughter, Sharon Birtcher and husband Curtis Birtcher; son, Joe Bob Merritt and partner Amanda Sage; grandchildren, Blake Birtcher and wife Kaitlyn, Lauren Brunson and husband Matt, Maria Merritt, and Miles Merritt; great granddaughter, Harley Birtcher, sister Mary Ann Merritt Costin; brother-in-law Dick Shimer, sister-in-law Linda Logan and husband Scott; and cousin John Merritt and wife Barbara.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that contributions be made to The Joe Merritt ’63 Memorial Fund online at or by mail to The Association of Former Students, c/o Joe Merritt ’63 Memorial Fund, 505 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840.


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