He was born Sept. 18, 1938, in Huntington, to Herschel and Mary Ellen (Burkhart) Merritt. Karl married Bonnie Dee Freed in North Manchester on Aug. 15, 1959. He graduated from Central High School in 1956 and from Manchester College in 1960, with a B.S. in Health and Physical Education. In 1964 he received his masters degree from Indiana University.
Karl taught and coached two years at Laketon High School and 15 years at Manchester High School, where he coached basketball, baseball, golf and football. He then worked twenty years at Manchester College as an administrator and basketball coach. At the college, he served as the Student Union Director, Conference Coordinator, and Alumni Director, where he enjoyed leading many alumni trips. He retired from the education field in 1996. He was the Public Address Announcer at Manchester College for football and men and women’s basketball for over 30 years. In 2000, Karl began working part-time for Grandstaff-Hentgen Bender Chapel. Karl served four years on the Manchester Community School Board, four years on the Town Council, several terms as a member of the North Manchester Traffic Commission, the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the Wabash County United Fund Board of Directors. He was instrumental in developing the Manchester University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. Karl earned a Manchester College Alumni Service Award in 1984. In 2003, Karl and his wife Bonnie Dee were awarded the North Manchester Citizens of the Year. On June 28, 2014, he was awarded a Manchester Community Schools Distinguished Alumni Award.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years; two children: Kirk (Christine) Merritt; Kristene Deeann Merritt Miller; granddaughters: Katherine Florence and Elizabeth Haru, Powell, Ohio; McKenna Liegh, Worthington, Ohio; and four sisters: Donna Merritt, Martha (Vern) Pursifull, Rebecca Merritt and Bethany Merritt.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30, at Manchester Church of the Brethren, 1306 Beckley St., North Manchester. Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30, at the church with Rev. Kurt Borgmann officiating. Burial will be in Oaklawn Cemetery, North Manchester, at a later date. Arrangements were entrusted to Grandstaff-Hentgen Bender Chapel.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Karl F. and Bonnie Dee Merritt Scholarship Endowment at the Community Foundation of Wabash County, 218 E. Main Street, North Manchester, IN 46962. The scholarship endowment will be used at Manchester University for a student majoring in either physical education with a coaching emphasis, or elementary education. Memorials also may be given to Manchester Church of the Brethren Vocal Music or Video Departments, 1306 Beckley St., North Manchester, IN 46962.