Donna Merkley Odekirk, age 91, passed away peacefully on Sep 30, 2021 at her home surrounded by loved ones. She was born May 9, 1930, in Roosevelt, Utah to Wilson and Faye Merkley. Donna grew up on a farm near Duchesne, UT and often shared her memories of her childhood such as picking raspberries (she hated them later in life because she was cut up by the thorns), cutting ice for the ice house, cooking with her mother, or putting up hay and grain.

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Donna grew up knowing Grover Odekirk and started to date him while attending Duchesne High School. She married Grover on Oct 11, 1948 and moved to Salt Lake shortly thereafter before settling in Kearns in 1956 where they raised their five young children.

While raising her family, Donna cultivated the many talents of a homemaker including: cooking, canning, gardening, needle work, quilting and sewing. Her sewing came in handy as she sewed many of her young children’s clothes. Her daughters carry on many of these skills today and have since passed these talents and hobbies on to their families as well. Given her upbringing on the farm, Donna found joy in working hard both in and outside of her home. People would frequently stop by her home to mention how beautiful her yard and flowers looked. She also supported her family by working for ~20 years at Kearns High School as a janitor. Her hands tell her life story—working hard in the service of those she loved, but always having beautifully painted nails!

Donna was active in her faith and demonstrated her love for God through simple acts of kindness and service. She taught Sunday School and primary and also enjoyed worshipping through singing at church, especially her favorite song “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” Above all, she quietly ministered to her family through simply loving and accepting all of her family members and friends. She showed her love through her Sunday dinners, family gatherings, back scratches, her contagious laugh and her hugs before sending you on your way with a ziplock bag of peanut brittle and old licorice. As her family grew and many people married into the family, all felt like they had hit the “grandma jackpot” with Grandma Odie. She had a way to make you feel genuinely loved—it was a gift she had. Everyone who was with her felt safe and knew that her love was unconditional. As her health declined over the past several months, all who served her felt that same deep love that she so willingly gave for so many decades.

Donna is survived by her brother Hal Merkley; her sons Russell (Tracy) Odekirk and Gordon Odekirk; her daughters Kathie Harrison (Rod) and Annette Hardcastle (Ron); dozens of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren who called her Grandma Odie or Grammy Don; and her best friend Elfie. Donna is preceded in death by her husband Grover, her son Mark Odekirk, grandchildren Darcey Dewitt, Eric and Zachary Odekirk; and her siblings and their spouses Kirk Merkley (Lorna), Phillip Merkley (Elva), Morna Grant (Lloyd) and Kipp Merkley (Helen) as well as her sister-in-law Janis Merkley.

In lieu of flowers, plant a few tulips and when they bloom next spring, remember to serve, love and laugh like grandma did.

A viewing will be held Wednesday October 6, 2021 from 6:00-8:00 pm at Memorial Redwood Mortuary 6500 South Redwood Road in Taylorsville, Utah. Funeral services will be held Thursday Oct 7, 2021 at 10:00 am at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel at 4260 W 5215 S, in Kearns, Utah. A viewing will be held just prior to the funeral at 9:00 am at the same location.

To participate in the services from your own home via live stream, please view instructions below.


1. Joining by computer

a. Go to in any internet browser

b. Click “join meeting”

c. Enter the meeting id - 8019693456

d. A box will open saying “ wants to open this application”. Click “open


e. Click “Join with Computer Audio”

f. Click “Mute” in the bottom left hand corner so that your audio does not interrupt

the funeral services

2. Joining by phone or iPad

a. Download the Zoom app

b. Open the app and select “join a meeting”

c. Enter the meeting id - 8019693456

d. Select “join without video”

e. Select “Call using internet audio”

f. Select “mute” in the bottom left hand corner so that your audio does not interrupt

the funeral services.


Services Handled By

Memorial Redwood Mortuary & Cemetery
6500 S Redwood Rd
Salt Lake City, UT

Life Story Info

Post Date

Oct 04, 2021

Personal Info


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NEXT Richard Scott Tyner Richard Scott Tyner


I have always loved my Aunt Donna & her entire family. What cherished memories I have growing up & hunting up Indian Canyon. I will forever be grateful to have had her in my life. A beautifully written tribute for such a great human being. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time of loss.

Love to all,

Jed & Lisa Anderson Larsen

Jed & Lisa Larsen , West Jordan, UT, US Oct 05, 2021