About Amy Merrell

The following is a remembrance published at the time of Amy’s death in February, 2015:

Amelia (Amy) Merrell was born at Columbia Presbyterian in Manhattan on February 1st, 1955. She was raised in Noblesville, Indiana and made her home in Cincinnati, Ohio. She discovered her love of the theater while in high school in Noblesville and continued to nurture her love for the arts through college at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and on the Showboat Majestic. Her devotion to humanity and to her community ranged from volunteer work at soup kitchens in Over-The-Rhine to the revitalization of Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall. Above all, her devotion and unselfish love focused on her husband, Yousef Aouad, and their two sons Gus and Quinn. Amy was the consummate professional; but family always came first. They were continually at the center of her life. Amy was active because she cared about the human condition. She was effective because she blended perceptive wisdom with loveable eccentricities. And she was listened to because she was smart and because she never stopped learning — avidly reading the New York Times and completing their crossword puzzles within a time frame that made many of her friends envious and feel somewhat inadequate. She worked in theaters, opera companies and theme parks throughout the United States; and eventually partnered with a close friend to found and guide Jack Rouse Associates whom the Wall Street Journal once called “one of the world’s more prominent design firms.” She was a pioneer in helping cultural institutions tell their story in a more theatrical manner and helping stadiums and sports facilities around the country become more fan-friendly. Conseco Field House in Indianapolis, the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, iconic Lambeau field in Green Bay and a host of Children’s Museums around the world all benefited from her talent and her wisdom. She was certainly never one who wanted to be in the limelight, but because of her talent and commitment, her projects shone even brighter. She was quiet, even a bit shy at times; but when she spoke people listened. She was street smart and intellectually wise. She commanded a room—-not by being braggadocios or loud, but by engendering the utmost respect. She always took her work seriously, but never herself. Amy had an incredible zest for life. And while she could be outrageous and irreverent — she was always fun. Always!! She cared passionately about the people around her; and once you had Amy as a friend you knew that someone always had your back. She nurtured and she challenged. She always had good ideas, but welcomed even better ones. She was a successful professional, mother, wife, community servant and friend. And although she never talked about her successes, she was justifiably proud of her legacy: her company, her professional accomplishments, her friends, and perhaps most importantly her remarkable family. There are those who make the world a better place and are widely celebrated. There are also those who make the world a better place in a quiet unassuming way. Amy was the latter. She will be missed — particularly by the guy who is writing this who had the honor and the pleasure of being her dear friend and business partner for over 30 years. Amy left us on February 16th, 2015 after a courageous 15-month battle with bone cancer. She was surrounded by family and friends and is survived by her husband Yousef Aouad and sons Georges Augustus (Gus) and John Quinn, her parents John and Verna Merrell of Noblesville, IN and her four siblings and their families: Mrs. Carrie (Merrell) Houchin of Huntingburg, Indiana, Mrs. Elizabeth (Merrell) Ricci of Cincinnati, Mr. Jay Merrell of Noblesville and Mr. Tom Merrell of Indianapolis, Indiana.