Remembering Sam: Katy Merrill speaks of life together - WNEM TV 5

Remembering Sam: Katy Merrill speaks of life together

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

It has been one year since Katy Merrill and her 5-year-old son James suffered an incredible loss.

Her husband, longtime TV5 Anchor Sam Merrill, unexpectedly died after collapsing in their family home. He had just come inside from snow-blowing the driveway after several inches of snow had fallen.

"This quilt was made by Debra Trischler and a great friend. And she just made it for us. I gave her a bunch of shirts and she made this beautiful quilt," said Katy Merrill, Sam Merrill's wife.

It's a simple quilt that blanketed her and their son James with comfort.

"She just gave us this quilt a couple weeks ago and it's amazing and I tuck him in at night and we actually get under this quilt every night and read books. And I feel like it's Sam and he's there. He's there with us and James even said that 'I feel like my dad is holding me and hugging me.' And so it's comforting, it really is," Katy Merrill said.

She is navigating through life remembering what once was and also proudly moving forward, something she never thought possible after losing her husband one year ago.

"I would say the big change is Sam isn't here. And I am doing everything on my own now," Katy Merrill said.

She met Sam Merrill 14 years ago while working at the family furniture store. He came in looking for furniture and walked out with his future bride. A few years later they got married and it wasn't long after they welcomed a healthy baby boy named James into the world.

"James is good. James is busy. He's going to school. He's in young fives learning to read and write and doing everything a 5-year-old should be doing. I feel like that when this first happened I was really concerned about him," Katy Merrill said.

She said she sees a lot of her husband in James.

"Everyone knew him as TV Sam, tie and suit and that was not my Sam. More casual and down to earth. He was just so funny and so charismatic and that's how James is. He cracks jokes all the time. He comes up with the craziest things all the time and that's his dad. I know that's his dad," Katy Merrill said.

She said she worries James might forget who his dad was.

"He had just turned 5 when it happened. I talk to him about how much his dad loved him and how funny his dad was and how smart his dad was all the time," she said.

Katy Merrill believes above all James will be her husband's legacy, knowing he will be just as great as his father was.

However, she wants his legacy to live on in the community he served. She is raising money to combine Sam Merrill's love of baseball and community by cementing a permanent fixture in his honor for the North Saginaw Township Little League.

"It's a pavilion and we want to do this in honor of Sam. Donor wall, concession stand, picnic tables, bathrooms and it's gonna be really really nice. And we are out there trying to fundraise this project right now," Katy Merrill said.

The baseball pavilion, the quilt and the memorial studio at TV5 will forever gratify her and memorialize Sam Merrill. She said her humble husband is flashing his signature smirk at everyone making such a fuss.

"He was just a normal guy that we all loved because he was so down to earth. And I think that's why everyone, it was such a shock for everybody and that's why we are all grieving it because he was so personable and such a friend," she said.

If you would like to help Katy Merrill and make a donation to help build the Sam Merrill Memorial Pavilion you can send the donation to this address:
North Saginaw Township Little League
PO Box 6608
Saginaw, MI 48608

Read more on Sam's legacy:

TV5 studio named in Sam's honor

Baseball pavilion to be built in his memory

Katie O'Mara remembers Sam

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