Vicki Merley

Obituary of Vicki Lynn Merley

Vicki Lynn Merley, a lover of family, music, Child Development, and a good joke completed her life’s work on February 3, 2023. 


Vicki’s Approach

In November 2021, while awaiting brain surgery, she summed up her approach in life to her youngest nephew to cheer him up: “smile about it and go on to the next thing!”



Vicki was born in St. Ignatius, Montana, to Victor and Marjorie Starkel, farmers in Western Montana. Growing up, she served as an intermediary between the oldest and all but the youngest of her eleven siblings.  Vicki was bright and full of life.  So much so that her older sisters helped her determine that she could skip her senior year of high school to matriculate in the University of Montana as a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, a scholarship related to her music degree. 



She met her future husband, Kim R. Merley, who was a violinist and electronics technician, from Helena, at a young artist music camp in August 1969.  Married in 1971 they played music together, raised two kids together, played with three grandchildren together, and remained devoted to one another for more than five decades.


Vicki’s Community

Vicki was as a piano teacher, substitute teacher, wife, mother to her kids, and dedicated member of her church.  In all of those roles, but especially as a piano teacher, she focused on helping her students improve and learn from their mistakes, helping them in the specific discipline but also life more generally. 


Vicki will live on in those whose lives she touched.  Other Suzuki piano teachers, for example, shared that “everyone is very sad about the passing of one of the most enthusiastic and hard-working teachers we all knew, and she was always positive with all of us, too.”


Vicki is survived by her husband, Kim. Her siblings: Christine, David (Bernice), Kaye (Gary), Robert (Penny), Edward, Roger (Kathy), Sylvia, and Murray (Wendy); her son, Michael (Lindsey), and her daughter, Angela (David); and two grandchildren, Summer and Carter—as well as many others in a large extended family. 


She was preceded in death by her siblings Johnny, Phyllis, and Kurt, one grandchild, Bennett. 



A memorial will be held on April 2, 2023 at Adair Funeral Home at 8090 N. Northern Ave. in Oro Valley, Arizona. 


In lieu of flowers or other gifts, we ask that you do what Vicki would encourage you to do:  smile.  You may also contribute to your favorite charity in her memory.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Vicki
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Adair Funeral Homes - Avalon Chapel
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