Celebrate your loved one’s life in a way that’s as independent as they were – in the Daily Independent and on YourValley.net. Share fond memories, photos and information on celebrations of life using our easy, step-by-step process.
Merle, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, died January 12, 2021 in Sun City at the age of 93. He was born April 12, 1927 in Milton, Iowa, the son of Roland T. and Anna Gaston McDonald.
He graduated from high school in Cantril, Iowa and was drafted into the army in 1950, spending 19 months in Japan and Korea during the Korean Conflict.
In November 1952 he married Patricia (Pat) Lowell of Fairfield, and the couple moved to the family farm north of Cantril in March of 1954. They raised their children there, and moved to sun City, AZ in 2004.
After graduating from High School, he farmed and was a lifeguard at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, where he met Pat. The couple later were park concessionaires there for eight years. He was a longtime farmer, as well as a Van Buren Co. Supervisor for more than eight years.
He was very active in the community as a member of and past commander of the VB Co. VFW, and of the Milton Legion; member and past president of the VB Development Assoc., member of Farm Bureau, Red Cross Board, Village of VB, Masons, Lions, Rotary, Historical Society and others. He was also a member and board chairman of Cantril Methodist Church, and member, usher and trustees chair of Lakeview United Methodist Church in Sun City.
He was a natural athlete, and had a lifelong love of fast-pitch softball, pitching and managing teams into his 50’s. He also bowled for many years. He would often be out hunting for Native American artifacts, and accumulated an extensive collection.
He liked to restore gravestones in old cemeteries, and was interested in geneaology. Around 1994, he joined the Oakmont Lapidary Club, scrimshawing powder horns, learning and teaching faceting and wirewrapping, and making beautiful jewelry, which he often gave away.
Family was always a priority in his life, and he leaves behind Pat, his wife of 68 yrs.; daughter, Kathleen (Tom) Foster of Sun City; son, Kelly (Laura) McDonald, also of Sun City; grandsons: Shane (Ashley) Foster of Tulsa, OK; Travis (Rina) Foster of Las Vegas, NV; Derek (Huyen) Foster of Chicago, IL; and Meghan (Clint) Akers of Huxley, IA; great-grandchildren are Lexi and Kaylee Foster, and Gage Yarnell, of Tulsa; Audrey and Easton Foster of Las Vegas, and Benjamin, Logan, and Gabriel Akers of Huxley. He was preceded in death by his parents.
A memorial service will be held at Lakeview United Methodist Church at some time in the future. Donations in his name may be made to Hospice of the Valley, Lakeview United Methodist Church, or to the donor’s choice. Condolences may be shared at www.menkefuneralhome.com