Durango resident Merlin Ray MaGouirk died of cancer Sunday, March 17, 2013, in Durango. He was 76.
Known as “Buddy,” he was born to Harold and Leota MaGouirk on Aug. 28, 1936, in Dallas. After his graduating from Adamson High School in Dallas, he later graduated from Fort Lewis College.
Mr. MaGouirk then joined the Navy. He was stationed in Long Beach, Calif., and spent four years on a destroyer, the USS Mansfield. He was awarded a China Service Medal and a Good Conduct Medal, and he completed the Radio “A” School during his military service.
After his discharge in 1959, he returned to Dallas, where he spent many years in the food business. After holding the position of vice president with Pizza Inn Inc., Mr. MaGouirk founded Southwest Pizza in San Antonio, where he eventually had 11 stores.
On Dec. 20, 1955, he married Patricia Ann Mauzy in Albuquerque, and they raised four children together. The marriage later ended in divorce.
When Mr. MaGouirk returned to Durango, he met Barbara Beard. The family said they were inseparable until the time of his death 21 years later.
Mr. MaGouirk enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping in the mountains around Durango. His son said his love of fishing will be commemorated on his headstone, which is decorated with a trout fisherman.
Mr. MaGouirk was a Baptist.
“He was very outgoing and never met a stranger,” his family said.
Mr. MaGouirk was preceded in death by his son Gary V. MaGouirk.
He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Barbara Beard of Durango; daughter, Brenda Sue Loar of Rowlett, Texas; sons Steven Ray MaGouirk and Kevin Lee MaGouirk, both of Dallas; sister, Margaret Josephine Snow, of Maybank, Texas; stepchildren Joan Manchester of Farmington, Wesley Miller of Montrose, Douglas Miller of Houston and Carla Miller of Yuma, Ariz.; former wife, Patricia Ann MaGouirk, of Dallas; and four grandchildren and numerous stepgrandchildren.
Cremation has occurred. A graveside memorial service with full military honors will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, March 22, 2013, at Greenmount Cemetery in Durango.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1800 East Third Ave., Suite 101, Durango, CO 81301; or a charity of one’s choice.