Joseph Melton Merrill was born December 8, 1923 in Andalusia, Alabama. He attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for 15 months before qualifying for medical school. He enlisted in the infantry reserves in 1942 and because special consideration was given to medical students, was sent back to Tuscaloosa to start medical school in September 1944. He was in the Air Force in the early 1950s. As of February 2021, no obituary or other indication of his death have been found.