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Merlin Roy Jennings

A memorial service for Merlin Jennings will be held 11 a.m. Jan. 19, 2013, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, with Pastor Nate Loer presiding. Prior to the service, there will be visitation starting at 10 a.m.

Merlin Roy Jennings, 93, of Wadena died Dec. 22, 2012.

Merlin was born Nov.18, 1919, on a farm in Jackson County, Wis., to Roy and Esther (Johnson) Jennings.

In 1928, when Merlin was 9 years old, his folks bought a small dairy farm in the rolling hills of Wisconsin, near the village of Blair. They built a barn, but lost the farm the next year due to the Great Depression. Since it was impossible to sell the farm, the owners rented it to Merlin's folks. During the Depression, life was very rough in the cities, but on the farm with livestock and a large garden, they always had a very good table.

While in high school, Merlin made several trips with his ag instructor. With his interest in agriculture and the teacher's newer cars, Merlin decided this was the field for him. After graduating from high school, he sold his cow and enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Merlin earned a Bachelor of Science degree from River Falls, and later a Master's Degree in agronomy from the University of Minnesota.

Merlin married Carolyn Peterson on July 17, 1949, in Bayport, Minn.

For five years, Merlin taught vocational agriculture at Little Wolf High School in Manawa, Wis. Then, he went to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service in Norman and Wadena counties.

Merlin was an only son and had a farm deferment during World War II, but he chose to serve his country and enlisted in the Army. He served three-and-a-half years, and was dismissed with the rank of first lieutenant.

After he retired, Merlin designed a small plastic rule that farmers could use to measure distances and acreage on aerial photos. He sold this rule to soil conservation districts throughout the U.S.

Merlin spent many winters enjoying the warmer climate of Tucson, Ariz., the social activities of the trailer park and hikes in the mountains. He also enjoyed gardening, fishing, traveling and e-mailing. He was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wadena, Rotary and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Merlin passed away quietly at home with family. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; and sisters, Beatrice Klief of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Ruth Hohman of New London, Wis. He also leaves sons, Mark and David, in Duluth; and grandchildren, Karsten in El Paso, Texas and Sonja in Waukesha, Wis.

Interment will be at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls.

Arrangements are with Schuller Family Funeral Homes in Wadena.