HAFFNER, Merle Wayne A longtime mentor to many, died at his home in Arizona on October 31, 2013. He was 82. Merle leaves behind a loving family and a community of friends who appreciated his generosity, kindness and guidance. To many of these people, Merle's heart was what made him special. He was a successful entrepreneur developing several businesses in the food broker and consumer products marketing industries in both Washington and California. Merle served on many boards while he lived in Spokane, Washington, including the Board of Trustees for Eastern Washington State College (now Eastern Washington University), the Spokane Lilac Festival, the Spokane Area Development Council, the Urban Affairs Council for the State of Washington and was President of the Rotary Club of Spokane. He was a former star track and field athlete at Lewis & Clark High School in Spokane, and also loved to participate in other sports, including golf, tennis and bowling. Merle was extremely competitive in everything he did and a prolific reader. He loved fishing, whether chasing salmon in the Pacific Ocean or trout in a remote mountain stream. Merle and his wife of 36 years, Michaelann, enjoyed their time owning thoroughbred horses, many with successful racing and breeding careers. He especially loved the study of equine bloodlines. Merle and Michaelann also volunteered as mentors for abused children through Childhelp-USA. He had the bluest eyes you could imagine and a wonderful sense of humor. He touched the lives of many people who came into his life and had nothing left on his bucket list. Merle is survived by Michaelann; his three children, Dianne (husband Craig), Cindy (husband James) and Greg (wife Debbie); Michaelann's two children Shannon (husband Cliff) and Tanya (husband Dan);12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; and his brother Michael Lydon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Childhelp-USA (www.childhelp-usa.com) or Sunshine Acres Children's Home (www.sunshineacres.org).A celebration of Merle's life will be held at the Encanterra Country Club in San Tan Valley, Arizona, on November 11, 2013, at 2 PM.
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Published in Spokesman-Review on Nov. 5, 2013