Rachel Eveleth (Wood) Merrill, 73, entered heaven on February 6, 2023. Known for her infectious smile and bubbly personality, Rachel loved to serve her community and was an avid genealogist and historian. She was passionate about her hometown of Westfield, IN and was so proud of her parents’ commitment to the community of yesteryear. A member of the Westfield HS class of 1968, she maintained lifelong friendships with her classmates. Born on January 17, 1950, in Bloomington, IN, Rachel was named “Judy Kay Combs” by her biological parents. She was brought home to the “big farm house on 32” by her adoptive parents, James William “Bill” Wood (deceased) and Virginia Eveleth (Fields) Wood (deceased), on February 14, 1951 and was given the name Rachel Eveleth Wood. She loved growing up on the farm and attending Westfield First Methodist Church. Her childhood friends fondly remember “tea parties with the farm kitties” and choir camp during the summers at Epworth Forest. She was active during her high school years, where she played flute in marching band, was a member of 4-H, the Sunshine Society, and was Prom Queen her Senior year. She went on to attend Ball State University, then transferred to Indiana State University and earned a degree in Education. On February 14, 1970, she married James Philip Morris. Together they had three children, Jeffery (Sara), Jennifer (Daniel) Cole, and Joseph (Allison). Rachel later married Douglas Lee Merrill on December 3, 1982, expanding her family to include Julianne (Megan).
She is survived by her brother, James Craig Wood (Sandy), and her sister, Mary Margaret (Wood) Banas (Edward), children, and grandchildren — Lilly, Ava, and Alex (Jennifer and Dan), Addison, William, and Carter (Joseph and Allison), Finn and June (Jeffrey and Sara).
Rachel loved her children and grandchildren and loved to celebrate their accomplishments with her friends. She loved to serve and educate others. She was a teacher in the parochial and public schools in Indianapolis, then a career counselor at Work Force One. In her later years, she worked for Home Instead where she cared for seniors, was chapter president of her P.E.O. sorority, was Regional Representative for the Indiana Extension Homemakers, and was heavily involved with the Westfield Washington Historical Society. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where she served as a Primary teacher, was a member of the Relief Society, and was an active volunteer at the Fishers Family History Discovery Center. Because she was an adopted child, she found great satisfaction when helping others connect to their own family history.
Please join in celebrating Rachel and her incredible friendships and contributions to her community on Saturday, February 11, 2023 at Christ United Methodist Church, 318 N. Union Street, Westfield, IN, 46074 (317)-896-5559.
Viewing will start at 10am ET, with a service to be held at 12pm.
She will be interred at a private family service at Summit Lawn Cemetery in Westfield, IN.
In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial contribution to the Westfield Washington Historical Society (wwhs.us), an organization that Rachel loved. We also encourage you to research your family history in her memory. Envelopes for the Westfield Washington Historical Society will be available at the service.
Arrangements entrusted to Bussell Family Funerals.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rachel Eveleth (Wood) Merrill, please visit our floral store.
Westfield Washington Historical Society
130 Penn Street, Westfield IN 46074