Dr. Merrill Dean Athon, 93, Prairie Village, passed away peacefully on July 26, 2017 after a brief illness. He enjoyed a long and accomplished life that positively impacted all who knew him. Merrill was born in Topeka Kansas on June 15, 1924. After graduating from Topeka High School, he entered the Navy, serving during WWII, as Pharmacist Mate. On August 19, 1951 Merrill and Lois McFerrin were married. Merrill completed his medical education at the University of Kansas Medical School in 1954. He practiced in the greater Kansas City area, serving at KU Med, St. Margaret’s, Bethany Medical Center, and Shawnee Mission Medical Center. Dr. Athon also formed a medical practice with John Oliver Baeke and Kale Gentry in Overland Park. He practiced with Dr. Baeke, and Dr. Gentry for the next 50 years, and also Dr. Baeke’s son John Jr. who later joined the practice. He retired in 2004. He served as a President of Medical Staff at Shawnee Mission and was a Founding Physician there. He also worked with a small team establishing the first recognized modern cardiac specialty unit in the nation, at Bethany Medical Center. Merrill made thousands of house calls over 50 years right up until 2004 and always accepted patient calls to his home. He always urged people to “never smoke and don’t drink”. He cared about the physical as well as the spiritual needs of the people he knew. He was a charter member of Hillcrest Covenant Church in Prairie Village, KS.
Merrill lives on in the hearts of his family: his sister Hazel Zink, his sons John Athon, Mark Athon, Paul Athon, Phillip Athon, and grandchildren Adriana Athon, Ashten Athon, Justin Athon, Nicholas Athon, Tyler Athon, Heather Athon, Sophia Athon and many cherished Nieces and Nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife Lois Athon, his precious daughter Marilyn who had Downs Syndrome, parents Howard and Roberta Athon and brothers, Robert Athon and Donald Athon.
Family and friends are invited to a Memorial in Celebration of Life which will began with visitation on Monday July 31, 2017, at 12:00 PM with the service to follow at 1:00 PM at Hillcrest Covenant Church, 8801 Nall Ave, Prairie Village, KS 66207. Military Honors will be conducted immediately following at Johnson County Memorial Gardens, 11200 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS 66210. Flowers and contributions may be made to Hillcrest Covenant Church to continue the Lord’s work.