Merlin Dale Wedel , 79, passed away on May 22, 2012. Merlin was born on October 30, 1932 to Dewey and Evelyn (Smith) Wedel. He was raised on a farm south of Greensburg, Kansas and attended Lone Star School through the 8th grade. Merlin moved to Fredonia, Kansas in 1950 to farm with his future brother-in-law Reiferd Yost. Following his marriage to Earla Yost on November 30, 1952, they moved to Topeka, Kansas where Merlin entered 1-W service, working at the Topeka State Hospital and doing an early morning milk route. Earla preceded him in death in 2004, after 51 years of marriage.
Following two years of service, Merlin and Earla moved to Wilmore, Kansas where he farmed and ranched until 1993. During these years in Comanche County Merlin became involved in numerous community organizations including Farm Bureau, USD 360 School Board and was a volunteer fireman for the Wilmore Fire Department. One county was not enough, Merlin also served on the Kiowa County Hospital Board.
Merlin was baptized into the Church of God in Christ Mennonite as a teen. In 1975 Merlin and Earla chose to become members of the Greensburg Mennonite Church, where they attended until they moved to Hesston in 1993. While at Greensburg Mennonite Church, Merlin served on the building committee, was a song leader and served several terms on the Board of Elders
In 1993 Merlin sold his farming operation and they moved to Hesston, Kansas where he resided until his death. Following the move to Hesston, Merlin and Earla became members of Hesston Mennonite Church and found a warm and welcoming Sunday School class which became an important part of their lives. Merlin was employed for a short time at Kropf Lumber in Hesston, but working inside four walls did not fit his passion of being out and about. He had spent winters driving 18 wheelers in his earlier days when farming did not pay all of the bills, so returning to semi driving was a natural for him. He drove for Bontrager Trucking, Hutchinson, KS; Phil Blocker Trucking, Cheney KS; and finished his driving career with Fensky Trucking, Moundridge, KS.
In December 2006, Merlin experienced a head injury following a fall. Life was never the same for Merlin as he lost his short-term memory and much of his long-term memory as well. He was not able to return to independent living and passed away at Schowalter Villa. Merlin is survived by his three children, Bruce Wedel and companion Kathy Ramey of Kansas City, MO; Sondra (Dean) Leatherman, Hesston; and Jay Wedel and Sharon Wedel, Hesston. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, Heidi Dawson, Pratt, KS; Jenae Leatherman, Haven, KS; Megan Leatherman, Denver, Co; Zach Wedel, Raytown, MO; Gabrielle Wedel, Raytown, MO; Jared Wedel, Hesston, KS; and Landon Wedel, Hesston, KS; one great grandchild, Colton Dawson, Pratt, KS. And a brother, Larry Wedel of Grove, OK; Two brothers preceded him in death, Charles who died in childhood and Kenneth.
Friends called from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 28, 2012 at Hesston Mennonite Church, the family received friends from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 29, 2012, at Hesston Mennonite Church. Burial immediately followed the second visitation on Tuesday, May 29 at Eastlawn Cemetery in Hesston, with memorial services following at the church at 11:00 a.m.
Memorials may be sent to Hesston Mennonite Church Outreach Commission and Schowalter Villa Good Samaritan Fund in care of Miller-Ott Funeral Home 107 S. Lancaster, P.O. Box 32, Hesston, Kansas 67062.