Music 03

Merlyn Ross Brinley Hanks

December 30, 1942 ~ June 28, 2020 (age 77)



Valiant Defender of Truth and Personal Liberties


Merlyn succumbed to cancer on Sunday, June 28, 2020 in his home in Sandy, Utah. He left with his concept of truth and personal liberty that was well known by those close to him and those whom he taught. His quick wit and dry humor kept us on our toes.

He was born December 30, 1942 in Provo, Utah to Ross Arlin and Erva E Wright Brinley. He was raised by his mother and adopted father, John DeVerle Hanks.

He loved the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was a devout student of the gospel and scriptures. He served a mission in the Western States Mission from 1961 to 1963.

He graduated from East High School in 1960 and attended the University of Utah where he majored in conducting and music. Since the fourth grade his love of music grew into his life-long joy of singing in choirs, the Utah Opera Company, and many opportunities of conducting choirs and orchestras. He performed in many musical plays including Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, to name just a few. We will miss hearing his beautiful voice.

He was a member of the Utah Symphony Chorus, including the years before they were fully incorporated into the Utah Symphony, for over fifty years. He loved singing pieces from the classical composers. He also conducted and sang with the American West Chorus for many years, and the Sandy City Senior Center Choir. There were many he taught about the beauty, complexity, and the depth of music.

He loved to discuss 19th Century philosophers Frédéric Bastiat and Auberon Herbert and had many weekly groups in the discussion of American Liberty.

Merlyn loved camping with his family, spending time roasting hot dogs in the backyard, and Christmas Eve dinners. He will be missed.

He married Helen Irene Cook in 1964 and they had two children, Tiffany and Darren Ross, later divorced. He married Shannon Robinson in 1981 with her two boys, Aaron Michael and Adam Grant. Merlyn and Shannon then had their daughter, Brittany, and also raised his niece, Crystal Faith Hanks, (Troy Olsen).

Merlyn and Shannon have five grandchildren: Teddy, Sebastian, Holland, Cole, Bailey, and a great-granddaughter, Raylynn.

He is preceded in death by his mother and father, his brothers; Gary Arlin, John Daniel, and James Ronald, and his sister; Verle Jean Brinley. Survived by his sister, Joan Hanks Pitcher.

There will be a visitation at Anderson & Goff Mortuary, 11859 South 700 East, Sandy, Wednesday, July 1, 2020 from six to eight in the evening. There will be a private graveside service with Merlyn’s and Shannon’s children Thursday afternoon.

We express our gratitude to Dr. Anna Chalmers and her team at Huntsman Cancer Hospital and Huntsman Hospice. They are incredible caring professionals.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Merlyn Ross Brinley Hanks, please visit our floral store.


July 1, 2020

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Anderson & Goff Mortuary
11859 South 700 East
Draper, UT 84020

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