Weather Forecast




Mary Jo Drilling, 62, of Duluth passed away unexpectedly due to complications of a brain aneurysm on Aug. 13, 2014, surrounded by her loving family and friends at St. Luke's Hospital.

Mary Jo was born in Minneapolis on March 24, 1952, to Douglas and Helen (Nelsen) Drilling.

Mary Jo graduated from Richfield High School in 1970 and the University of Minnesota in 1976 with degrees in biology and physical therapy. Mary Jo married John Merrill on Aug. 6, 1983, in Duluth. Mary Jo spent her career as a pediatric physical therapist at Essentia Health, formerly Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center, where she was dedicated to helping improve the lives of children with disabilities. She loved music and dancing, the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. Mary Jo was always eager to embark on new adventures, whether it involved skiing in the mountains, canoeing in the BWCA, or being the first on the dance floor at music festivals. She touched the lives of everyone around her with her constant energy and unwavering selflessness.

Mary Jo is survived by her parents; her loving husband John Merrill, Duluth; her beloved children Mark Merrill (Madelyn White), Brooklyn, N.Y., Anne Marie Merrill, Columbia, Mo., and James Merrill, Bozeman, Mont.; her sister Katie (Terry) Chmielewski, Two Harbors, Minn.; her brother James Drilling (Judy Pilz), White Bear Lake, Minn.; and nephews, extended family, and countless friends.

Mary Jo's family and friends would like to thank the staff at St. Luke's ICU for their kindness and support.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE: Saturday, Aug. 16, in The Marshall School, 1215 Rice Lake Road, Duluth. Gathering at 11:30 a.m., celebration of Mary Jo's life starting at 12:30 p.m., lunch to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the Miller-Dwan Foundation designated to Polinsky Children's Rehabilitation in memory of Mary Jo.