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Merle Schmidt - June 30, 2013

Merle Ervin Schmidt, son of Arthur George and Esther Alvina Nierman Schmidt was born Jan. 28, 1922, in rural Amherst. He died June 30, 2013, at Regent Park Nursing Home in Holyoke.

Merle was baptized in the Christian faith at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Amherst. As a young man, he reaffirmed his baptismal covenant through the rite of confirmation on March 25, 1934, also at St. Paul’s. Merle attended school at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Amherst, completing the eighth grade. He then completed two more years of school and left school to help support his family.

He served in World War II in the Philippines and Japan. After returning home following his time in the service, Merle farmed in the Amherst area. He was also co-owner of Plains Liquor in Holyoke. He retired from farming in 2000.

Merle married Carol Hircock Martin on Sept. 12, 1963, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Amherst. Following their marriage, Merle and Carol made their home in Holyoke. Merle became a stepdad to Mike Gracey, Terry Gracey, Dan Gracey and Susan Gracey.

Merle was active in Zion Lutheran Church in Holyoke. He served as an elder. He was a lifetime member of VFW and American Legion.

Merle was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Esther Schmidt; brother, Carl Schmidt; sister, Lois Schilke; sons, Terry Gracey and Dan Gracey; grandson, Curt Gracey; and infant twin granddaughters, Stephani and Tiffani Carruthers.

Merle is survived by his wife, Carol: son, Mike Gracey of Holyoke; daughter, Susan Gracey Davidson and husband Larry of Union City, Calif.; grandsons, Craig Gracey of Springfield, Mo., Bret Gracey of Massachusetts, Aaron Gracey of Lawrence, Kan., Kelly Gracey of Lancaster, Kan., and Dustin Davidson of Dallas, Texas; granddaughters, Jennifer Gracey McAlexander of Effingham, Kan., and Dacia Carruthers of Hayward, Calif.; great-grandchildren, Ariel Gracey, Jordan Gracey, Curt Gracey and Kristen Gracey, Ryder McAlexander, Brodie McAlexander, Tessa McAlexander and Quetzali Montes; sisters, Leona Oltjenbruns and husband Milton of Holyoke and Wilma Jean Prussman and husband Lyle of Greeley; and brother, Les Schmidt and wife Shirley of Rawlins, Wyo.

Merle had many friends and was always ready to make a joke or two. He enjoyed spending time with his family and loved to take the grandchildren on tractor rides. He will be deeply missed.

Funeral services for Merle were held July 8 at Zion Lutheran Church in Holyoke. Reverend Gary Rahe officiated. Burial followed at the Holyoke Cemetery.

Baucke Funeral Home of Holyoke handled the arrangements.

Memorial contributions can be made in Merle’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601, or The American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75231.