I was born in Oklahoma City, and grew up in Moore, Oklahoma a suburb of the city. In fact, I have one brother who still lives in Moore. I graduated from Moore High School in 1967. Attending the University of Oklahoma, I majored in marketing with minors in finance and accounting. Throughout my school years, I had many jobs and earned all of the money for my college tuition, books, transportation, and entertainment. Among these jobs were selling magazines, picking okra, working at the grocery store, and working as a bank teller.
After my junior year of college, I took an internship with the Oklahoman and Times. That was the beginning of my newspaper career. In 1971, I began working for the Oklahoman full time as a sales rep in the retail division. Eventually, my hard work led to promotions within that department and a move to classified advertising as one of the managers. Along the way, I married Cathy in 1972 and our first daughter Valerie was adopted at the age of five days and added to the family in 1978. Our second daughter Kellie was born in 1983.
In 1986, I received a call that led me to the job of classified manager for the Columbus Dispatch and our family moved to Dublin, Ohio. I soon rose among the ranks to Retail Manager, Assistant Ad Director, Advertising Director, and then Vice-President of Advertising.
2002 was a big year. By that time Valerie was married with two children and Kellie was in college. It was then that Cathy and I added a three year old son from Guatemala—Pablo. Currently, Valerie and husband Brian have two children; B.J. is 12 and Alexis is 9. Kellie has a son, Trevor, who is a year and a half; she and husband Josh are expecting another son in late January of 2012. Pablo is now 12 and attends Shanahan Middle School. Cathy has just recently retired after over 30 years in education and has had experience teaching at all levels, kindergarten through college.
In December of 2002, I took the job of group publisher of the Southeast Ohio group of newspapers for Brown Publishing and moved to Athens, Ohio. Within a few months I was named vice president, as well as publisher, for the Athens Messenger.
In the spring of 2007, we took advantage of a transfer to the Delaware area so we could be closer to our grown children and young grandchildren. The transfer with Brown Publishing led me to be vice president and group publisher of several papers in Central and Northwest Ohio as well as publisher of the Delaware Gazette. In May of 2011, the newspapers which were now called Ohio Community Media, were sold to an investment company out of Philadelphia. I left the newspaper in September, 2011.
Since I am no longer in the media business, this allows me to pursue another passion—political involvement.
Some of my other activities are softball (I have played for many years), golf, traveling, and serving as an assistant coach for Pablo’s Little League baseball team.
Along my career journey I have served my communities in many ways. Among those are:
Our family hosted a Rotary German exchange student in 1999 and a Japanese exchange student in 2001. I was also a participant in Leadership Athens.
While in Delaware, I have served as a board member for the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Delaware County, and Community Action Organization of Delaware, Madison and Union Counties. I also volunteer regularly at Stratford Ecological Center and serve on their Development Council.
Gary Merrell is running for the Delaware County Commission seat which term begins on January 2, 2020. Merrell is: