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Merlin H. Ehlers 'Merle'

Chapman, NE

1938-39, 2750, Fruitdale, DBR-2, BR-2 Member

Merlin 'Merle' H. Ehlers

A Husband, A Father, A Grandpa

RAPID CITY - Merlin H. "Merle" Ehlers, 83, passed away peacefully at home Monday, January 13, 2003. Merle was born March 5, 1919, in Chapman, Nebraska, the son of Henry and Amanda (Sundermeier) Ehlers. He spent his childhood near Burwell, Nebraska, and attended a rural school in that area.

In 1937 he moved with his family to Keystone, South Dakota. He served with the Civilian Conservation Corps at Orman Dam by Belle Fourche before WWII. He was drafted into the US Army in October of 1941 and inducted at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In the South Pacific he participated in 5 initial landings: Mindanao, Mindoro, Leyte, Guadalcanal, and Luzon. He was a Recon driver for the 640th Tank Destroyer Battalion. He managed to survive and was honorably discharged in August of 1945.

Upon his return home he did some mining with his father in the Keystone area. He met the love of his life, and on June 20th, 1948, he was united in marriage to Helen Schroeder of Rapid City.

Merle worked at Patron's Co-op for 30 years. He delivered gas and fuel to his rural customers. Many of these customers became friends and he was welcomed into their homes for coffee and goodies.

Merle's love of sports included playing baseball and boxing, as a young man, and later in life, water skiing, and bowling. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and Friday night car races. He was a lifetime member of the Elks, the VFW, and the DAV.

Grateful for having shared his life include his wife Helen of 54 years; daughters, Patty (Steve) Bambeck, Peggy (Kerry) Coates, all of Rapid City; and his grandchildren, Jarrod, Stacey, and Kristi; sisters, Arlene, (Maurice) Jones, Washington, Violet Young, Iowa; brother, Elmer (Mary Ann) Ehlers, Montana.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Adeline Lytle.

Visitation will be from 2 p.m.-7 p.m. on Thursday, January 16, 2003, at Kirk Funeral Home in Rapid City.

Services will be at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, January 17, at the funeral home, with Rev. Jeffrey Carlson officiating. Burial will follow at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

The family wishes to express their appreciation to Dr. Michael Davies and the staff at Fort Meade hospital; Jerry Wilson and the Senior Companion Program; and Naomi and Terese and the Hospice of the Hills Program.

Memorials have been established to the Senior Companion Program and Hospice of the Hills.

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