Merle J Peterson, 85, formerly of Taylor, entered into his Savior's presence Jan. 29, 2013, at the Callaway District Hospital.
Merle was born to Julius and Konita (Duddy) Peterson Aug. 13, 1927, in Cheyenne County, Colo. He grew up on the family ranch with big sister Glaida, and younger brothers, Allan and Norman. Merle attended K-8 at Mount Pearl, and graduated from Kit Carson High School in 1945. When he was 16, part of his schooling included driving the school bus with children to school. Ornery students got the privilege of sitting in the front seat and opening the gates! At home working with family, he learned many skills for ranching that he used throughout his life. After high school, he also worked for the Collin's ranch in Cheyenne County, Colo.
In 1950, he was drafted into the army and endured icy combat conditions during the Korean War. There he served as Sargent First Class Company K 223rd Reg. 40th Division 2nd Platoon. He returned safely, however, too long in the freezing fox holes led to artificial hips that would later distinctively define his gait as all his own. He would recall a time when the Lord's presence was obvious; the front line he was commanding left their trench to attend a Sunday service. One of the privates left his Bible behind, and while they were at service their trench was heavily fired upon by the enemy. Upon returning, the Bible was lying opened and unharmed, while all else was destroyed!
After returning from service, he wed Imogene Chronister Sept. 19, 1954, and they ranched and tried a little farming near Eads, Colo. To this union a daughter and son; Lana and Laning were born. Merle also served as a Colorado State Brand inspector.
June 17, 1970, Merle wed Ruth Jordan in Brookings S.D. Two sons and a daughter were born; the late Lynn, and the late Amy (Peterson) Stapleman, and lastly Jay. The family lived in Wray, Colo., running a restaurant and ranching. Merle retired from brand inspecting in the late 70s.
After moves around and between Colorado and Minnesota, in 1985, the family set roots in the Burwell/ Taylor region. There Merle worked where needed at local feedlots, sale barns, and ranches. He took pride in always being able to keep 100 head of cows until 2002, when he permanently downsized.
While in Taylor, he also served as Veteran's service officer for the surrounding region, and weeds superintendent for Loup County until the mid-1990s. Merle and Ruth moved to Broken Bow's Off Broadway Assisted Living community in the fall of 2010.
His love for animals extended past just cattle and horses. He truly loved all animals, keeping his late Ruth's poodle, fishing with grandsons, and feeding the local turkey herd, to name a few. He was his children's biggest encourager, whether it was school, working on mechanics, or starting a colt. If you took time to listen, he'd always have a story to tell and a smile to give. Patience was Merle's greatest attribute.
He is survived by daughter Lana (Terry) Brown of Eads, Colo.; two sons, Laning Peterson of Eads, Colo., and Jay (Peggy) Peterson of Stapleton; grandsons, Wyatt and Bailey Stapleman of Fairfield, and Rate Peterson of Stapleton; sister, Glaida Craven of Kit Carson, Colo.; brother, Norman and wife Margaret Peterson of Eaton, Colo.; sister-in-law, Carole Jordan of Ivanhoe, Minn.; many nieces, nephews, family, and friends.
He was preceded in death by wife Ruth; children, Lynn and Amy (Peterson) Stapleman; brother, Allen and wife Bonita Peterson; brother-in-law, Red Craven; and brother-in-law, Raymond Jordan.
Funeral services were Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, at the Berean Church in Broken Bow with Pastor Frank Scott officiating. Interment was in the Taylor Cemetery, with Govier Brothers Mortuary of Broken Bow in charge of arrangements.
Memorials are suggested to the Loup County Volunteer Fire and Rescue.
Published in Custer County Chief, Feb. 7, 2013