Cover photo for Jonathan "Sam" Merrill's Obituary
Jonathan "Sam" Merrill Profile Photo
1986 Jonathan 2023

Jonathan "Sam" Merrill

February 4, 1986 — July 1, 2023



Jonathan “Sam” Ray Merrill, 37, entered the presence of his beloved Lord Saturday, July 1, 2023 at home in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Jonathan was born February 4, 1986 in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan and adopted July, 22 1986 by John and Jan Merrill of Charlevoix, Michigan. Jonathan attended Charlevoix schools, graduated in 2005, and went on to Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in biblical Greek.

Following his passion for teaching and communication, he worked as a substitute teacher in Charlevoix and Emmet County schools from 2009 to 2015. During these years he not only forged deep and lifelong friendships, he also deepened an unwavering commitment to his faith. Discovering a profound love for the biblical text and for prayer, he studied eagerly and always found opportunities to share the transforming power of his relationship with Jesus with his family and friends. His pastoral gifting matured into leadership beyond the classroom as he helped establish Young Life Charlevoix and the Charlevoix House of Prayer.

In 2017 Jonathan married the awaited love of his life, Jordan Enciso. Their firstborn, Haddie, was born in 2018, and they moved to Jacksonville, Florida where their family grew quickly. Asher, and Lizzie were born shortly thereafter. Being a father came naturally and effortlessly to Jonathan. Those around him began to recognize that the joy and nurture of his family had emerged to him as his truest and highest calling. He believed that in addition to being a husband, fatherhood was the principal assignment for which he knew his soul had been created.  Jonathan described himself as, “just a dad, with a Great Dad.” He took his dad role as a reflection of his own Heavenly Father to his own children. 

“Sam-Jon” as many knew him, had an infectious love of his Jesus, and it spread to his family, friends, and anyone who would let him love them. He was a passionate theologian and self-described nerd. He was dedicated to helping people find freedom in Jesus Christ, particularly from struggles with addiction. His passionate zest for life and fun, his humor, his attentiveness to people, and his comfort with intriguing scholarly ideas suited him well for making relational connections with everyone he met.

He was most proud of his role as a father. His blog,, was his most recent expression of Godly fatherhood.

He was employed by Fidelity Investments as a Help Desk Specialist where he served others and was cherished by many. 

Jonathan is survived by his wife, Jordan; their children, Hadassah (Haddie), Asher, Elizabeth (Lizzie), and Havilah (due in October); his mothers and fathers and in-laws, Jan and Walt, John and Natalie, Mark and Brenda, Janet and Jon, and Laura; his grandparents, Rita, Tom and Gloria; his siblings, David and Danielle, Zach (Don), Jaclyn, Caipan, Chris and Brooke, Jeremy, Ryan and Danielle, Lainey, Stevie, Katie, Blake and Hannah; his step-siblings and his many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his birth-mother, Faith.

A Memorial Service will be held at 12pm (EST), Friday, July 7th, 2023 at Celebration Church, 9555 RG Skinner Parkway, Jacksonville, Florida.

A later Memorial Celebration will be held in Northern Michigan at a date yet to be determined. 

Sam's family respectfully requests that flower donation not be made due to the effect that they have on allergies.

As Sam's community, we can rally around his family with financial support during their time of grieving. Please consider donating to a fundraising effort if you're able. Any amount makes a difference! Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. Please see below for donation information or CLICK HERE to be taken directly to the gofundme page.


Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, July 7, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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