Most people know Howard Merriman by his name that graces the Edina High School gymnasium or for his 23 years as Edina High School Athletic Director.
But Howard's history in Edina stretches back to 1944. After teaching and coaching in his hometown of Delano for two years, Howard arrived in Edina as a fresh faced 24-year-old teacher at Edina School (later known as Wooddale), a combined elementary and junior high school.
Not only did he coach junior high athletes, he also worked as part-time recreation director for the City of Edina in the summers. In his first year, he helped establish the first summer baseball program. (For more, see John Sherman's June 29, 2011 story in the Edina Sun Current.)
During his park and rec years (1947 to 1955), he also helped organize park and rec youth programs for swimming and hockey.
Edina-Morningside Junior-Senior High was built in 1949, and Merriman continued coaching there. By 1955, the athletic program had grown so much that Merriman gave up teaching to become a full-time athletic director -- possibly the first one in the state, according to an Edina Historical Society oral history with former principal Rollie Ring.
Around the same time that Howard first joined Edina Schools, so did a lovely young woman. "Miss Madeline Roth joined the school staff as English teacher in about 1943. We all liked her. So did Mr. Merriman. He married her," recalled her former student Ron Shirk.
Madeline soon quit teaching and began a 60-year career with the American Red Cross. According to her obituary, she "began as assistant director of the Junior Red Cross, working with children in schools around the Minneapolis area. In 1956, she was one of two adults leading a nationwide team of 18 junior leaders to an international Red Cross meeting in the Netherlands and to the Red Cross headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Over the years, she was promoted to numerous leadership positions in the local and national Red Cross chapters. After retiring, she continued as a volunteer training local chapters how to respond in emergency situations"
During Howard's tenure as athletic director, Edina High School teams won 108 Conference and 27 State titles. Howard was the first class named to the Edina Athletic Hall of Fame and is also honored in the Minnesota State High School Hall of Fame.
These are just a few of the photos in the Merriman collection that I picked up today. The devoted couple did not have children, but their extended family kindly thought of the Edina Historical Society as an appropriate place for the documents, photos and other artifacts that pertain to the Merriman's life in Edina.
The Merrimans made history in Edina and we're glad (understatement) to add their material to our collection. I'll continue to sort and catalog the contents of the boxes, but I thought these photos were too cool not to share right away.
Do you remember the Merrimans? In doing some initial research about the Merrimans, I see that pro baseball player Bob Johnson played for Merriman's midget team. What stories can you share? Please comment here or email me
Search this blog:
Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
Thank you, your message has been sent
Support this blog!
Help us bring you Edina history with this web site by becoming a member or donating today. Click on the link to our GiveMN.org site to make a donation with a credit card. The Edina Historical Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that depends on contributions to continue operation.