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October 22, 1922 - April 18, 2013

Merlin passed away Thursday, April 18, 2013 at the Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah at the age of 90.

Funeral services will be 2 PM Sunday, April 21, 2013 at the Mabel First Lutheran Church in Mabel with the Rev. Gail Klavetter officiating.   Burial will be in the Burr Oak Cemetery in Burr Oak, Iowa.  Visitation will be from 4 - 7 Saturday, April 20at the Mengis Funeral Home in Mabel and one hour prior to services at the church.

Merlin was born October 22, 1922 in Hesper Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa on the family farm to Frank and Lucy (Chase) Snell.  He was an only child.  He attended country school, Hesper #6 (the Chase School) to the eighth grade.  He graduated from Canton High School in 1940.  He was the top boy in his graduating class.  He attended Iowa State in Ames, Iowa for one year then returned home to do what he loved to do, farming.
He entered the United States Army in 1944 and served in the Phillipines in the 32nd Infantry Division.  He was wounded on April 10, 1945 and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

He married Bernelle Amundson on June 2, 1947 at the Mabel First Lutheran parsonage.  They lived on his home farm until 1950 and then built a home one mile away and continued to farm in Hesper and Burr Oak Townships until they retired.  Merlin had a beef cow herd, raised hogs farrow to finish, raised corn, soybeans, oats, and hay.   He loved to sell hogs and steers and would treat whoever was with him to pop and candy bars, and he would sing his favorite song, “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”.  He loved to drive McCormick tractors and John Deere combines.  He last was able to drive the combine in the fall of 2003.
In November 2003 Merlin and Bernelle moved to condo in Decorah.  Health problems in July, 2012 brought him to the Aase Haugen Home in Decorah.
Merlin and Bernelle have five children. Larry (Corinne) Snell of Wausau, Wisconsin, Dr. Randy (Susan) Snell of Lewiston, Minnesota, Jolyn Mikesh of Decorah, Frank Snell of Decorah, and Pamela Snell of Decorah and Rochester, Minnesota.

He is also survived by eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren: Dr. Benjamin (Megan) Snell of Lancaster, PA, Stacy (Jason) Lunden of Bozeman, Montana, Emily (Paul) Block of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Heather (Brian) Erwin of Rochester, Minnesota, Jeremy Snell of Rochester, Minnesota, Jonathan Snell of Des Moines, Iowa, Joshua Snell of Waukee, Iowa, and Tyler Mikesh of Decorah.  Great grandchildren are Lauren and Julian Snell, Isaiah and Elsa Block and Ida and Ingrid Lunden.

Merlin and Bernelle loved to go dancing at Matter’s Ballroom in Decorah every Saturday night.  He especially loved Lawrence Welk TV shows and in the later years would wait for Saturday nights to watch the reruns on IPTV.  When hospitalized in the last year Lawrence Welk CD’s and DVD’s brought him much comfort and enjoyment. Merlin and Bernelle loved to travel. They made many car trips to San Diego, California to visit Bernelle’s sister, Ardath and to Buffalo, New York to visit Bernelle’s sister Alberta.  They travelled to Europe twice, one trip with Pam to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, and one trip with Ardath Flynn to England, France, Germany, Holland, and Switzerland.  They travelled on bus trips throughout the United States and Canada making many friends.  He loved to go to Cattle Congress in Waterloo, the Minnesota State Fair, and the Winneshiek County Fair.  He also traveled to the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933 with his parents.  The family enjoyed fishing trips to Caskey’s Resort in Hackensack, Minnesota many summers.

Merlin was a member of the Mabel First Lutheran Church since his marriage in 1947.  He was baptized and confirmed at the Burr Oak Methodist Church. He was also a member of the Mabel American Legion Post 299 and Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

Merlin was named an FFA Honorary Chapter Member, was on the Mabel First Lutheran Church Council, Farm Bureau member and past board member, 4-H Leader, Member of the Pork Producers, and Winneshiek County Cattlemen.  Bernelle and Merlin also square danced and were members of a card club.
They hosted two foreign exchange students from Norway, Marit Kummeneje ( who was a relative of Bernelle’s) in 1976 and Astrid Overaasen in 1978-1979.  They both called him “Dad”.

His favorite pastime was visiting with the neighbors and friends and eating Bernelle’s good cooking and baking.

He is survived by his wife Bernelle, children and grandchildren, Sister in-law and brother in-law Joan and Bud Amundson, nephews Pat (Robin) Flynn, Jack (Hilde) Hughes, and Jim (Carol) Hughes.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Lucy Snell, mother-in-law and father-n-law Idella and Gilbert Amundson,  son-in-law Steve Mikesh, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law Ardath and Joe Flynn, Alberta and Everett Hughes, and sister-in-law Bea Amundson, and nephew Ray Hughes.

Memorials are preferred to the Mabel First Lutheran Church in lieu of flowers.

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