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Merle Hunt


1921 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Merle Hunt Obituary
Merle Hunt

Ackley

Merle Hunt, age 91, died on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at the Presbyterian Village in Ackley. Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Monday at the First Presbyterian Church in Ackley with burial in Oakwood Cemetery. Visitation will be on Sunday from 3-5 p.m. at the Sietsema Funeral Home in Ackley.

Merle W. Hunt was born May 1, 1921 to parents John and Lena Ukro Hunt, ¾ mile east of Ackley on the family farmstead.

His childhood was spent enjoying his many pets and being involved in 4-H and Boy Scouts. Photography was a hobby of his; he enjoyed developing his own pictures. He graduated from Ackley High School in 1939. He participated in class plays and literary contests, worked on many facets of the school paper the Argus, was involved in FFA (Future Farmers of America), and earned the Iowa Farmer Degree. Music was a very intrical part of his high school years, singing in the choirs and quartets and playing in the Ackley High School Band. He played cello in the band until a vacancy became available in the tuba section. He went on to win first place in National competition in Minneapolis, playing a sousaphone solo, Barbiosa.

In 1941, he enrolled at Iowa State after staying out a year. He immediately became enrolled in activities on campus. He wrote for the Ag Journalism paper and became their sales manager. He was pledged to Farm House Fraternity during his freshman year after maintaining a high grade point average. His association with Farm House has given him a host of life-long friends. He became involved in the music department, singing in Prof. Tolbert McRay's choirs and quartets, the YMCA Quartet, and playing in the Iowa State Band under the direction of Alvin Edgar.

In 1943, he enlisted in the Army, was transferred to the Air Force, and stationed in Shepard Field, Texas. While waiting for further orders, he played in the 24th Air Force Band. They determined he had a real aptitude of radio and code so he taught in radio school at Sioux Falls, SD and Shepard Field, TX where he was discharged in 1945.

He was united in marriage to Leona M.K. Oelmann on September 23, 1944 at the Evangelical Church with Rev. Henning, Rev. Rumbaugh, and Leona's uncle Van Kampman. Leona joined Merle in Sioux Falls, SD and Shepard Field, TX.

After being discharged from Service, he returned to Iowa to continue his college education at Iowa State. He graduated with a BS degree in Agronomy and was elected to honorary Alpha Zeta. Following graduation, he became involved in the hybrid seed corn business started by his father, John M. Hunt, who was a pioneer in open-pollinated seed corn. They became a part of the 25-member P.A.G organization. They had 75 farmer dealer salesmen in the five-county area. J.M. Hunt & Son Inc. planted, detasseled, harvested, graded, and bagged the corn in their seed house. In 1952, Merle's father passed away and Merle continued the seed business.

In 1953, Merle was a pioneer in introducing anhydrous ammonia to the area, using it on their seed fields and having others apply strips to see the results. Merle put in a bulk plant and that was the beginning of Ackley Fertilizer Sales, now owned and operated by grandson Jason Hunt.

Over the 65 years in business, they employed many local students and adults and served many customers. He had fond memories of all of them.

During these years in business, Merle became involved in the seed trade and fertilizer trade organizations. He served many years on the Board of the Iowa and National organizations of each, representing small business.

Merle was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Ackley for 75 years, serving as Elder for many, many terms, Trustee, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, and Chairman of the Finance Committee for the new church. He served on many Presbytery committees and was a member of the choir for over 70 years, starting in high school singing bass with Sherman Rath and Bob Humke.

He was a member of Rotary for over 65 years, a member of the Ackley Country Club, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce for many years.

Merle served on the AG School Board for 8-12 years, serving as President for many of those years. He served on the Presbyterian Home Administrative Board and Foundation Board as a member and President for many years. He was committed to serving his community.

Family was very important to him. He enjoyed his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Traveling and camping with family were favorites of his, as were reading and golfing. Music has always been a part of Merle's life and he continued for many years playing in the Iowa State University Alumni Band and the Ackley German Band for 19 years.

Merle leaves behind his wife, Leona of 68 years, son Jim Hunt of Ackley, daughter Jean (Rod) Kolthoff of Wellsburg, grandchildren Jason (Michelle) Hunt of Ackley, Joe (Misty) Hunt of Ackley, and Jamie (Jeff) Rae of Wellsburg, great-grandchildren Carrinton and Alayna Hunt, Courtney, Isabella, MaryAnn, Jaxon, and Jordyn Hunt, and Jadyn and Jenika Rae, and foreign exchange daughter Nasrin (Salim) Hakimi and their children Shinkai and Seidahl Hakimi.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Ruth in infancy

Published in Des Moines Register on Mar. 24, 2013
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