Merlyn Walter Brown, the son of George Louis and Gertrude (Smithers) Brown, was born in rural Dunlap, Iowa, on December 16, 1919. He attended Country School #4 in Galland’s Grove Township, and after completing eighth grade, he farmed with his father. On June 1, 1941, he was united in marriage to Viola May Best in Denison, Iowa. The union was blessed with five daughters, Cheryl, Sandra, Linda, Janis, and Joyce, and one son, Gary. The couple farmed in Shelby, Crawford, and Harrison counties until 1969, when they purchased a farm west of Kirkman. Merlyn also worked part-time for Ahrenholtz and Sons Fertilizer and Farmers Coop in Defiance, Iowa, until he retired at age 81, in 2001.
Merlyn attended the First United Methodist Church in Harlan, Iowa. He loved farming and taking care of the crops and livestock. He treasured time with family, and enjoyed traveling and attending fairs.
Merlyn W. Brown died on Thursday, November 18, 2010, at the Salem Lutheran Home in Elk Horn, Iowa, having reached the age of 90 years, 11 months, and 2 days.
Merlyn was preceded in death by his parents; one daughter Cheryl Lavely; four brothers, Fred Brown, Louie Brown, Otto Brown, and Ervin Brown; six sisters, Annette Ransom, Hazel Miller, Beulah Miller, Lualia Schmitz, Lorrean Woolsoncroft, and Lucille Brown, in infancy. Those remaining to cherish his memory are his wife of 69 years, Viola Brown; five children, Sandra Brown (friend, Tyrone Scheffler) of Harlan, Iowa, Linda Wade of Bellevue, Nebraska, Janis (Bill) Holloway of Kirkman, Iowa, Joyce (Jim) Blok of Charles Town, West Virginia, and Gary Brown of Kirkman, Iowa; seven grandchildren, Cheri (Ron) Degrote, Bill (Michelle) Lavely, Patrick (Kari) Holloway, Mark Holloway (friend, Dani Ritchey), Andria Wade (friend, Caleb Snyder), Erin (Ben) Hartigan, and Ryan Brown; three step-granddaughters, Jennifer (Matt) Bergsma, Michelle (Lenny) Guzinski, and Jackie (Matt) Buchan; 16 great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday, November 23, 2010, at the First United Methodist Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Rev. Dave Swinton officiating. Mary Lemons served as the organist, and Sharon Donlin was the soloist. Casket bearers were Bill Lavely, Patrick Holloway, Mark Holloway. Ryan Brown, Joshua Riggins, and Ben Hartigan. Burial was in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Kirkman, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at www.burmeisterjohannsen.com.