Norman Maynard Merk (1928 - 2018)

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Funeral services for Norman M. Merk, 89, were conducted by Pastor Joshua Farrell on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Brayton. Interment was in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Audubon. The casket bearers were Ed Koenig, Dale Koenig, Paul Merk, Kevin Christensen, Brian Clemsen, and Tyler Stowe.
Norman Maynard Merk, the son of Raymond and Mary (Koenig) Merk, was born April 22, 1928, at his parents' home in Douglas Township north of Audubon, and died Jan. 1, 2018, at the Audubon County Memorial Hospital in Audubon, at the age of 89 years, 8 months, and 9 days.
Norman was baptized and confirmed at the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Ross. He attended rural school in Leroy Township through the 8th grade and graduated from the Audubon High School with the Class of 1946. At that point, he started farming in partnership with his father, besides working at the family-owned grain elevator in Audubon.
On March 17, 1957, he was united in marriage to Venita Miller at the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Ross. They moved to a 240-acre farm north of the family homestead, where Norman built a new home, steadily adding buildings and acreage--along with being blessed with three daughters Colleen, Cyndi, and Lori. They started out raising 200 chickens and farrowing hogs, feeding 150-200 head of cattle, and milking 8-10 head of dairy cows, plus row crops. Over time, they specialized in growing corn, finishing 1,000 head of feeder cattle a year, plus feeding and marketing 1,000-2,000 hogs. Norman was an early partner in Multi-Pig. In the mid 90's, he retired from farming and was employed as an over-the-road trucker for Jim's Meat in Harlan, for over 10 years before joining an escort service. He escorted wide loads for Dee Thayer's Escort Service for over 15 years before running under his own Merk's Flag Car Service for a while until he retired in 2015 at age 87.
Norman was a member of the First Baptist Church in Brayton, a Farm Bureau member for over 50 years, serving in various positions from vice-president to board of directors, besides belonging to numerous ag groups such as the Cattleman's Association, the Pork Producers, the Professional Farmers of America, besides acting as vice-president for the Cornland Marketing Association and serving on the board of directors for the local co-op. His entire life, he was always reading and learning, to remain on the cutting edge of farm practices. Norman once took a cutting torch to a brand-new corn planter to mount it on a sidewinder to try the latest minimum tillage practices. He tested manure spreaders and other equipment for New Holland and was interested in anything farm-related, including collecting toy models of the tractors he used over the years. Norman enjoyed long-distance driving, sight-seeing, water skiing, and fishing. He helped keep nature in balance with shooting permits from the Audubon County Sheriff and the Department of Natural Resources to reduce the rising number of vultures in the city of Audubon. He enjoyed collecting ball caps from the many seed dealers and other businesses he visited in his travels.
Preceding him in death were his parents Raymond and Mary; his sister and brothers: Edith Rogers, Leroy Merk and Donald Merk. Survivors include his wife Venita Merk of Audubon; his daughters: Colleen and husband Tyler Stowe of Prole, Cyndi and husband Edward Brett and daughter Katie of Sebastian, Fla., Lori and husband Aaron Petersen and daughters Alisha and Alayna, son Alex, all of Audubon; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Funeral Home
Kessler Funeral Home
515 S Division St
Audubon, IA 50025
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Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Jan. 12 to Jan. 19, 2018