Son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and best friend passed away on March 3, 2011 in the evening at their cabin in the woods by the river near North Pole, Alaska. Son of Lloyd and Dorothy Winkelman, Merle was born on February 6, 1948 at Jefferson, Iowa. He grew up working on the family dairy farm in Paton, Rippey, and later the far m south of Perry. Along with the work involved in being the oldest son and the demands of farm life there were many opportunities found for merriment with time spent with family laughing and eating hot fudge ice cream. At the age of eight, Merle became so ill that the country doctor in Grand Junction said ‘this boy needs to go to the hospital’. When Merle told the story over the years he said ‘Momma never left my side the entire week’. This strength of family bonds symbolizes the man Merle grew to become.
While attending York College in Nebraska Merle met and married Linda Russell. This started the 44-year long adventure of building a friendship, and partnership through commitment, and love.
Mr. Winkelman spent 32 years as a teacher and mentor touching many students lives from Little Falls, Minnesota to Eielson AFB, Alaska. One of his first students at Little Falls High School later moved to Alaska and her son was one of his students.
Farm life never left his blood and he proudly drove his meticulously restored John Deere’s in the local parades. Throughout his life Merle built and created numerous masterpieces in every medium from wood to paper. He truly is our made in America man constructing a home filled with long lasting treasures.
The dedication and love that our quiet giant bestowed upon all of us will always be treasured and long emulated for generations to come. Merle is our brother no. 1, our protector, our Uncle Jake, our best friend and Grandfather extraordinaire. He is a great man whom we will miss terribly and love dearly all our long days.
Merle was preceded in death by his mother Dorothy Jean and brother in-law, Michael Murphy. He is survived by his loving wife Linda of North Pole, AK; daughter Mist D’June-Gussak and her husband Joshua and grandsons Andrew and Bretten Winkelman of Fairbanks, AK; son Matthew Pike of Idaho Falls, ID; father Lloyd Winkelman of Perry, IA; sister Marilyn Dvorak and husband David of Homer, AK; brother Ken and wife Deb of Maple Grove, MN; brother John and wife Judith of Auburn, IA; sister Marcia Murphy of Perry, IA; brother Brian and wife Christina of Indianola, IA. Nephews and nieces; Roger Dvorak and wife Misty; Wendy Pruitt and husband Perry; Douglas Dvorak and wife Erica; Jeremy Winkelman and wife Jennifer; Rich Jensen and wife Tonya; Robert Winkelman and fiancé Noelle; Emily Ferneding and husband Dan; Tasha Winkelman; Ryan Murphy and wife Lisa; Danielle Murphy; Kade Winkelman; Kayla and Kelsey Schark; great nephew and buddy Jake Ferneding; special great nieces Callie and Kate Ferneding; and many other great nieces and nephews in the Midwest and Alaska.
Memorial services are being held March 12, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. at the Northern Lights Church of Christ 645 11th Ave., Fairbanks, Alaska. Services in Iowa are being held March 18, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. at the Church of Christ, 502 West Walnut St., Ogden, Iowa.
Arrangements entrusted to Fairbanks Funeral Home and Crematory in Fairbanks, Alaska.