In Memoriam

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Merrill Richard Francis ’54

Merrill Richard Francis ’54, October 1, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. Merrill studied at Reed for a year and completed a BA in economics at Pomona College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He did service in the navy before earning a JD from Stanford Law School, where he was made a member of the Order of the Coif. Merrill’s 45-year legal career was with the firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter, and Hampton in Los Angeles—he was a prominent finance lawyer, with special expertise in the fields of bankruptcy and creditors’ rights and was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of bankruptcy law as well as for his enthusiastic advocacy on behalf of his clients. Jim Joseph ’69 reported that he practiced in the same area of the law as did Merrill and worked on several cases with him. “I think he decamped to Pomona because the Portland weather got to him.” Merrill held leadership roles in many organizations, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Ninth Circuit Admissions Council, and was named a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He was a frequent lecturer on topics such as bankruptcy, workouts, uniform commercial code, and debtor-creditor relations for legal and financial associations. He also received the Les Tupper Community Service Award for his guidance and advocacy during the incorporation of La Canada Flintridge. Merrill supported the arts, enjoyed sailing, especially to Catalina Island, and ran in several marathons. He married Nancy Humphreys in 1954; they had three children, two daughters and a son. Survivors include his wife, Maria Del Carmen Heffler; his children, five grandchildren, two sisters, and a brother.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2013

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