Merritt Yearsley was born in Townsend, Delaware in 1920. He served in WWII in Central Europe, where he first saw and became intrigued by Byzantine glass mosaics. After the war, he moved his young family to Milwaukee and began studies at the Layton School of Art while working as a heating and boiler contractor. He met Frank Lloyd Wright during the 1950s, and the renowned architect encouraged and inspired him to pursue his artistic dreams. In Milwaukee, Yearsley created and installed the intricate Marine Exchange Bank mural depicting the growing Great Lakes region. All of the stone was imported from Italy and he took pride in hand cutting and fitting each tile. His mosaic works can also be found in the Sanctuary at United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay. He had a love for all things Italian: clothes, food, art, automobiles, opera, and history. From the late 1950s into the mid-1980s, he made over 30 trips to Italy, spending a month each summer working with masters of the craft and visiting marble quarries. He befriended the Italian family that founded the quarry in Pietrasanta, Italy, where Michelangelo sourced the marble for his sculptures. He moved to Dallas in the early 1960s and became a protégé of architect George Dahl, creating murals for some of the city's landmark buildings. Over last twenty years of his life, he concentrated on painting, glass, bronze sculpture, and stone water fountains.