Merle Laechelt, 59, of Canby, passed away on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, at his residence. Funeral services will be Saturday, Aug. 17, at Zion Lutheran Church, rural Boyd. Burial will be at Zion Lutheran Cemetery, rural Boyd. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. with a 6:30 prayer service on Friday, Aug. 16, at Houseman Funeral Home, Birk Chapel, in Canby.
Merle Laechelt was born in Clarkfield, Aug. 8, 1959, at the Clarkfield Hospital, to Merlyn and Alice (Wick) Laechelt. Merle was the youngest of six children. As anyone would tell you that knew Merle, he was a special guy. Always had his hand ready for you to shake and a smile and a tilt of the hat. Even though Merle was special needs, he was treated the same as any of his siblings on the farm. Even at a young age 4, he was picking rock and pulling weeds.
Merle loved going to church. By the age of 8, he knew most of the prayers and liturgy. He sang most of the songs, as well. One of his favorites “Jesus loves Me.”
Before Merle started kindergarten, he trained his puppy (Shep) to shake hands, always the gentleman. Merle started riding the bus to Sacred Heart before attending the DAC in Montevideo, where Merle made many friends. During the winter months, when Merlyn was working late, his favorite Aunt Rose would pick Merle up from the DAC and he would spend time on the Wick farm. Aunt Rose and Uncle Edward were Merle's favorite and he spent many hours with them and “Kevin Jon.”
In 1993, Merle moved away from home, but two or three times a month, Merle would come home. During spring planting and fall harvest, Merle would spend three weeks at a time, riding 8 to 10 hours a day, in the tractors and combines with Mark, listening to music. (He didn't like to ride with Merlyn, because he didn't play music!) But, riding to town with Merlyn was a treat. Visiting the elevator and Ordell, the barber, was always great fun!
In the mid-1980s Merle moved into a REM home in Canby, and Boulder REM for the last 16 years. This was a good time for family as Merle was closer to home, so he got to visit more often. Merle worked at the DAC in Canby recycling Christmas lights and plastics until 2013, when his health started to fail. During these last years, Merle watched a lot of Hee-Haw and old western movies.
Merle loved visiting relatives, going to the movies, drinking coffee and dunking cookies. He loved tractors and had a collection of John Deere and IH tractors and equipment that anyone would be proud of. He spent as much time as he could on the farm, with family. Easter 2019, was so special to Merle, because all the kids were home. There was lots of laughter and love around the kitchen table. And Merle's laugh and giggle was ever present.
He is survived by his siblings, Julie (and Bill) Ward, of Norfolk, Va., Janet (and Alfred) Pierce, of Clarkfield, June Laechelt, of Wilmar, Michael Laechelt, of Hoffman, and Mark (and Natalie) Laechelt, of Boyd; MaryJane Walton, of Henderson, Nev., who loved her Great Uncle Merle; and many nieces and nephews.
Merle shook Jesus' hand on Aug. 2, 2019.. He was preceded in death by his parents, Merlyn and Alice Laechelt; grandparents, Walter and Julia Laechelt, and Anton and Mable Wick; aunts and uncles, Rose and Edward Wick, Solvieg and Floyd Belseth, Juliana and Everett Belseth, Clifford Wick, and Phyllis and Sylvester Kockleman.
Houseman Funeral Home, of Canby, is in charge of the funeral arrangements