John Daniel Merino Jr. lost his battle with cancer on the night of Wednesday, Jan. 10. He was 20 years old.
John John was born in Safford, Arizona on Nov. 17, 2000, to John Merino and April Runyon. John John lived in Safford until he was 8 years old and then moved to Tucson to live with his dad and younger brother, Izzac. He lived in Tucson until June 2015 and then moved permanently to Sierra Vista.
John John graduated from Buena High School in May 2019. He was a fun-spirited, loving, happy, young man who loved to spend time with his family and friends. He always had a big smile whenever you seen him and never failed to say hello. John John was so proud of his last name and proud to be the son of “John Merino”. Many people remember him asking “Do you know who my dad is?” or saying “I’m Big John’s son.”
After high school, John John started working for his Uncle Frankie’s landscaping business. He worked with him for a few months before moving back to Safford to help his grandfather with his chili business. After the chili season was over, he started working as a dishwasher at Mechy’s Mexican Restaurant in Safford. He worked there for a few months before working at his last job in Safford at El Coronado. He then moved back to Sierra Vista and got a job at The Country House as a dishwasher. However, he disliked dishwashing very much and finally landed his last job at Walmart as a personal shopper. He loved that job! Throughout all his hospital stays, the one thing he continued to say was “I just want to go back to work. I really like my job!” John John stayed working at Walmart up until the day he was diagnosed with cancer.
He is survived by his father and stepmother, John and Angela Merino; siblings, Issac, Abriana, Izzac, and Christian; grandparents, Jim and Susan Carrasco, Mike Bejarano, Rosie Diaz, and Ernestine Merino; great-grandparents, Izzy and Mary Sonive, Petra Merino, and Manuel Diaz, as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins.
He is preceded in death by his cousin, Selena Hernandez; grandmother, Virginia Borjon, and grandfather, Efren Merino.
John John fought hard and always stayed positive. He was determined to beat his cancer. He is the true definition of a fighter. He will be loved and missed by many.
A viewing will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m., followed by the Rosary at 7 p.m. at the McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel. Another viewing will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 24, beginning at 9 a.m., followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, with interment in the San Jose Cemetery.
The Mass will be streamed live on Facebook and also at McDougal’s Caldwell Chapel for any who would like to see the services. Social distancing will be observed.
Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory. Online condolences may be extended at www.caldwellchapel.com.