August 31, 1933 – May 26, 2022
Robert Lee Merrill, D.D.S., passed away on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
He was born in Salt Lake City, UT. He and his family moved to Ogden shortly thereafter. Dr. Merrill served in the United States Air Force from 1953 to 1957. In the 1960’s he began his graduate studies in the Classics at UCLA, but his passion was the sciences. He graduated from USC Dental School in 1973. Later on, he did a Pain Management Fellowship at UCLA and earned his Masters degree in Oral Biology.
Dr. Merrill did so much for the orofacial pain and headache fields. His heart was devoted to teaching many generations of clinicians and clinician-scientists, during his time as the Director of the UCLA Orofacial Pain Clinic since 1994, and then as the Director of the UCLA Orofacial Pain Program from 2003 to 2019. Dr. Merrill was a Fellow of the American Headache Society and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. He received the lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. He was a very active member and a past chair of the section of TMD, Cervical Spine and Orofacial Pain.
He had a key role in developing the first American Board of Orofacial Pain examination and developed many CE courses and mini-residency programs in orofacial pain and sleep. He authored and co-authored numerous papers and book chapters on orofacial pain and sleep medicine.
As retired Professor Emeritus of UCLA Dental School, he enjoyed skiing, baking sourdough bread, fly fishing, learning languages, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and spending time with his beloved grandchildren.
He was also highly engaged with church activities, serving as a Bishop, counselor in the Stake Presidency, and Patriarch in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Dr. Merrill is survived by his wife, Lawana Merrill; children, Craig Merrill and Claire Claunch; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Ella Merrill; and brother, Arthur Reed Merrill.
Dr. Merrill was loved by his patients, colleagues and by his students, specially his UCLA residents. He had incredible knowledge and he was the kindest, most humble, caring, generous, teacher and mentor for many.
At the request of Dr. Merrill’s family, donations to the UCLA Orofacial Pain Discretionary Fund are being requested in lieu of flowers being sent.
These funds will be dedicated to orofacial pain research as well as technology and other support for the residency program.