Thursday, November 7, 2019

Merrill Daniel Harp, Calaveras High sports star

   Merrill Daniel Harp, age 40 of Valley Springs, passed away at his family's home in the early morning hours of Monday, October 28, 2019.

   Born in
French Camp on November 12, 1978, Merrill lived most of is life in Calaveras County.

    As a student athlete, first at Tokay High School in Lodi and then at Calaveras High School in San Andreas, Merrill was a top competitor in football, baseball and wrestling.   Many of his trophies and photos are still on display in the lobby of the Calaveras gymnasium.

   Outside of school, his hobbies included auto and motorcycle racing at Delta Speedway and other tracks as well as derby cars, go karts and quadrunners.

   Always on the hunt for an adrenaline rush, his favorite hobby was bull riding. He had multiple eight second rides even though he was not an official member of the PBR Association.

  After high school, Merrill entered the welding industry. He worked on commercial sites across the western United States until an accident in 2001.

   While working on a disabled vehicle alongside Hwy 99, he was struck by a passing motorist. After months in the hospital, numerous surgeries and the amputation of his lower left arm, he returned home to pick up where he'd left off.

   When permanent nerve damage from the accident made it apparent that he could no longer work, Merrill decided it was time to "Cowboy Up".  He swung over the rail of the chute onto the back of a 2000 pound bull, telling his Dad, "I got this."

   The chute opened, the clock ticked off eight seconds, the buzzer sounded and a one-handed cowboy waved to family and friends.

   Before his passing, Merrill made his final wishes known. At his request, his body will be cremated and there will not be a memorial service.

   He is preceded in death by his older brother Michael Harp and is survived by his six children; Victoria Harp of San Andreas, Katie, Jay and Caleb Harp of Sacramento and Michael and Merrill Eric Harp of Valley Springs; his father and stop-mother Steven and Dianna Harp of Valley Springs; his mother Tanya Merrill Harp and sister Brandy Roxas, both of Las Vegas, Nevada.

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