Merlynne S. Armi of Los Altos Hills, CA passed away peacefully during the morning of June 21, 2019 after a long illness. Merlynne was born on February 18, 1933 to the late George Levi Goodwin Smith and the late Corinn Beckley Smith. Family legend has it that Merlynne was born with a love for travel. Although her parents were living in Chicago, Merlynne was born in New Albany, Indiana. Her mother Corinn went into labor when she and her husband were on their way to visit family in Louisville and Merlynne didn’t want to miss out on the fun.
Armed with such a strong desire to see the world, Merlynne studied to become a registered nurse at Cook County Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago, Illinois, with the hope of becoming a flight attendant, or air hostess, as they were called back in the day. In the early days of passenger air travel, all air hostesses were required to be registered nurses.
While in nursing school, she went on a double date with a fine young man named “Chuck” and his fraternity brother, Philip G. Armi. It turns out that Chuck and Merlynne didn’t hit it off that well; she described him later in life as “too handsy!” But she took a shine to Philip (Phil), a student at the Northwestern University School of Dentistry and U.S. Air Force ROTC officer. Phil and Merlynne were married on June 20, 1952.
Although she never became an air hostess, she did become a registered nurse and began her career at Cook County Hospital. After Phil completed a tour of duty in Japan, he spirited her off to California where they raised a family while at the same time Merlynne supported Phil’s growing dental practice in Mountain View, CA. Throughout their 67 years together, they did indeed travel the world, visiting Hawaii, China, Korea, Canada, Tahiti in the South Pacific, Europe, Central and South America, and Alaska. Among their favorite travel locations was Ixtapa, Mexico and Phil and Merlynne vacationed their yearly for more than 20 years.
Merlynne was a proud American and especially proud of her family’s roots and the role they played in founding the United States. She became an expert amateur genealogist and long before historical records were available online, Merlynne researched her family tree and was able to trace her family back to some of the earliest settlements in Colonial America. Merlynne’s ancestors settled in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and even founded the town of Beckley, West Virginia.
She is a distant cousin to Daniel Boone and singer Pat Boone. At least three of Merlynne’s ancestors were Patriots of the American Revolution who served in the Continental Army of the United States. Merlynne’s ancestors fought in the battles of White Plains, Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown, and wintered with General Washington at Valley Forge. Because of their sacrifices, she was able to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Palo Alto Chapter. She regularly participated in their Good Citizenship award. Her family has been able to continue the research into Merlynne’s family and have traced the family tree back to Scottish nobility and to her 18th great grandfather, Lord Robert Scott van Rankilburn-Murthockston.
Merlynne’s greatest legacy is the family she leaves behind. When her children were growing up, Merlynne insisted they receive the best education possible and she helped introduce them to a wide range of activities ranging from the arts to sports. She loved to play piano and instilled a love of music into her children. She was an accomplished painter and instilled in them the love of art. Her children have all gone on to lead productive and successful lives and this gave Merlynne great joy. In addition to her husband of 67 years, Dr. Philip Gregory Armi, DDS, Merlynne is survived by her daughter Lynette Miesen (Thomas), PharmD, a published author and accomplished painter, Jody Lee Krazeise (Fred), Master of Music, a soprano who has performed with regional opera companies and as soloist with the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, and Dr. Gregory Goodwin Armi, DDS, who has taken over Phil’s dental practice in Mountain View, CA. She also is survived by four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The family plans a private memorial ceremony on Saturday, July 20, 2019 from 10am – 12pm which will be held at the Duncan Memorial Chapel at the Floydsburg Cemetery, Crestwood, KY, followed by burial near her parents at 12pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that mourners make a memorial donation to the DAR General Fund https://www.dar.org/giving/ways-give/donate-online.