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Merle Blanchfield

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Merle Blanchfield Obituary
Blanchfield, Merle Hibbard


LADYSMITH, WI—Merle Hibbard Blanchfield, 91, died at 3:45 a.m. Wednesday, September 4, 2013, at Ladysmith Care Community.

Merle was born June 16, 1922, in Wisconsin Rapids, the son of Frederick Blanchfield and Elva Hibbard Blanchfield. He was united in marriage to Jean M. Solmonson on August 2, 1948. She preceded him in death on September 20, 1977. Merle subsequently remarried Angeline Hartnagel Duval on September 15, 1979. She and her extended family survive him.

Merle is also survived by son, Daniel (Ann) Blanchfield of Farmington, Missouri; daughter, Jean (Michael) Kostuck of Stevens Point, Wisconsin; daughter, Joanne (Carlton) Spooner of Conrath, Wisconsin; grandchildren, Erin (Kurt) Webster, Elizabeth (Michael) Strong, Zachary (Marie) Spooner, and Alex (Jessica) Kostuck; great-grandchildren, Lilianna and Caleb Kostuck; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Earl Blanchfield, and sister, Meredith Stern Saveland.

Merle was employed for most of his working years in the cost department at Consolidated Papers, Biron Division. In raising his family in the village of Biron, Wisconsin, he was actively involved in youth activities, managing the athletic facilities in the Biron Community Hall, and starting and coaching the village's little league baseball team. After his children were grown, Merle and his wife, Angie, lived in Wisconsin Rapids until he moved into assisted living in Ladysmith three years ago.

His lifelong love was music, particularly jazz and popular music from the 1920's through the 1940's. Having received a guitar in his teen years, he became proficient, enabling him to serve in World War II as an instrumental musician, arranging music, planning entertainment programs and playing in bands in the Philippines for 13 months. For many years thereafter, he performed in small musical combos in central Wisconsin, often at Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Even in retirement, he maintained a small studio in his basement where he recorded his music, playing all the separate tracks (keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums) himself. As a music arranger, his interest in jazz theory, chord progression, and substitute chords was lifelong.

Memorials in Merle's honor may be directed to The Neuropathy Association, Inc.,60 East 42nd Street, Suite 942, New York, NY 10165, or online at

A private memorial service for family will be held at a later date.

Nash-Jackan Funeral Home is assisting with the arrangements.

Published in Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune on Sept. 10, 2013
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