Elisa C. Merkl

The daughter of Sara and Antony DaCruz, Lisa was born in Coimbra, Portugal in the winter of 1929, the oldest of three siblings. The family later moved to Lisbon and eventually to Nebraska – where Lisa, fluent in Portuguese, French and German but not, unfortunately, English, plunged into life at Dana College. Clearly, the fourth language is the charm.

Lisa was working on her master’s in mathematics at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, when she met her husband-to-be, Peter Merkl. They were married in 1954 and for the next 63 years celebrated not only each anniversary, but each month-iversary on the 28th of the month.

The Merkls settled in Santa Barbara in 1958, where Lisa joined the math faculty at Santa Barbara City College and Peter became a professor at UCSB. The next decades were spent raising a family, traveling and establishing deep roots in the community. Lisa’s lifelong interest in literature flourished in her later years. She wrote poetry and co-wrote numerous children’s theater plays, which were performed at UCSB. Her grandchildren still talk about her poetry on topics as varied as Monarch butterflies, Jacaranda blossoms and a certain Thanksgiving turkey.

Friends and family will remember her gift for language and her poetry of spirit, not just words. She is survived by her beloved husband Peter and her children, John and Lisa Goodman Merkl and Jackie and Cayford Burrell, seven grandchildren — Ted, Rose, Sam and Amy Burrell, and Ali, Brady and Travis Merkl – and her sister, Helena.

Services will be held at the McDermott-Crockett Chapel at 2020 Chapala St. at 3 p.m. Sunday, August 6. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Planned Parenthood or the charity of your choice.


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