Merrell Shoptaw is a lifelong resident of Dover. He graduated from Dover High School in 1965, and subsequently obtained degrees from the University of Arkansas and Arkansas Tech University. After several years as a fighter pilot in the USAF he returned to Dover, and retired in 2013 after 35 years as Director of Computer Services at ATU. He has served the Dover community in multiple capacities including a ten year tenure on the school board and as music director at the Dover church of Christ. Merrell has four grown children and six grandchildren.