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Obituaries from the week of March 18, 2009

Merlyn Howard, 89

Merlyn Ray Howard, 89, formerly of Slayton, passed away Tuesday morning, February 17, 2009 at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne.  A memorial service is planned for Saturday March 21, 2009 at the Good Samaritan Chapel in Jackson at 2 p.m. with Chaplin Kathy Brandt officiating.  Burial will take place on Saturday March 28, 2009 at the Park Lawn Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri.

Merlyn Ray Howard was born on July 6, 1919 on the family farm near Windom, the son of Denton and Beryl (McMorris) Howard, Jr.  He spent his childhood years in Pine City, Glyndon, Lakeland, Windom and Currie where he attended Currie Public Schools.  After school Merlyn went to Oregon to visit some of his relatives and ended up joining the National Guard in November of 1940, soon after he was inducted into the U.S. Army at Ft. Lewis, Washington.  During his time in the Army, Merlyn saw combat in the Pacific Theater, specifically at Biak, Mindanao, New Guinea and various other islands in the Pacific.  During his service on Biak Island, Merlyn was awarded The Bronze Star for meritorious service.  After his discharge from the Army, Merlyn was united in Marriage to Norma Leach on July 5, 1949.  After marriage Norma and Merlyn made their home in Slayton.  In 1961 he was united in marriage to June Williams.  After marriage they made their home in Kansas City Missouri where Merlyn owned and operated an auto shop.  They stayed in Kansas City until June’s passing in 2001.  In 2002 Merlyn moved to Jackson to be near his sister, Margery.  In 2004 Merlyn entered the Jackson Good Samaritan Center before moving to the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne in 2007.  Merlyn passed away at the Minnesota Veterans Home on February 17, 2009 at the age of 89 years, seven months, and eleven days.

In his younger years, Merlyn was very adventurous, traveling the countryside from boxcar to boxcar.  Merlyn loved to pass the time reading as well as sitting on the lake in his boat fishing.  Merlyn also enjoyed hunting, as well as his annual trips to the Black Hills and to Northern Minnesota.  Merlyn was known for his kind heart; his love of dogs getting the best of him on numerous occasions, he couldn’t say no to a stray or wild dog.

Merlyn is survived by his daughter Lori (Harry) Colby of State Center, Iowa; his step-son Jack (Kitty) Williams of Springfield, Missouri; numerous grandchildren and many nieces and nephews as well as a sister Margery Silvernale of Jackson, Minnesota.

Merlyn was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 40 years June, and a daughter Cheri Lynn who passed away in 1976.

Blessed Be the Memory of Merlyn Ray Howard.

Marilyn Mortland, 72

Funeral services were held at  2:00 p.m. today, Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at the Tracy United Methodist Church for Marilyn Mortland, formerly of Tracy, now of Marshall, MN.

Marilyn Joan Mortland was born October 4, 1936 to Rudolph and Crystal (Ferguson) Stoltzman in Mankato, MN.  She was baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith and attended public school in Mankato.  As a young woman she worked as a waitress at a café in Mankato.

On Nov. 7, 1954 Marilyn married Dean Mortland at his parent’s farm near Lake Benton, MN.  Dean was serving in the military at the time so they made their home in Baltimore, MD for a short time before his being stationed in St. Paul, MN.  After his discharge they moved to Los Angeles, CA in 1957 before returning to Russell, MN that same year, as Dean accepted a teaching position there.  They moved in 1959 to Atwater, MN until 1962, when they moved to Tracy, MN.  During the years that followed, Marilyn was a wife and mother, raising her four children.  In the early 1970’s she began working for several contractors in Marshall.  Her work included painting and final inspection cleaning of new properties.  In October of 1987 Marilyn was involved in a near fatal car accident.  She recovered and was able to resume caring for her own household, but was forced into retirement.  In 1989 when Dean retired from Tracy High School, they moved to Marshall and built a new retirement home.

Marilyn was a past member of the Tracy United Methodist Church where she had taught Sunday school and was active in the church woman’s groups.  Over the years she also was active in her children’s academic and sports activities.  She enjoyed cooking, keeping her house clean, and gardening, of which, she was well known for her superior garden, especially her tomatoes, without much extra effort.  Her greatest love was her grandchildren and spending time with them and following all their accomplishments.

In 2007 Marilyn’s health required her to become a resident of the Morningside Heights Care Center in Marshall and in February of 2009 she became a patient at the Avera-McKennan Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD.  On Friday, March 13, 2009 Marilyn died, surrounded by her loving family, at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls at the age of 72.

Marilyn is survived by her husband, Dean Mortland of Marshall, MN; one daughter, Sandy (Jeff Williams) Sik of Marshall, MN; three sons, Jim (Mary) Mortland of Marshall, MN, Dave Mortland of Sioux Falls, SD and Tom (Niki Anderson) Mortland of Colton, SD; nine grandchildren, James Mortland III, Jennifer Tuffs, Dustin Hoffman, Mitchell, Dylan, Malia, and Zachary Mortland, Cassidy Nelson and Staci Lubben; five great grandchildren, Riley and Jessica Tuffs, Abigail and Felicity Mortland and Sebastian Kron; three brothers, Robert Stoltzman of North Mankato, MN, Alvin Stoltzman, of Mankato, MN and Kirt (Glenda) Stoltzman of Kingston, OK; six sisters, Barbara Gannot of Marshall, MN, Susan (Howard) Korf of Denver, CO, June Sorrell of Columbus, IN, Cheryl (Todd) Simonson of Caddo, OK, Gail (Tom) Norris of Mankato, MN, and Jackie (Dave) Fideler of Sioux Falls, SD; many nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends.

Her parents, one infant grandson, one infant granddaughter, three sisters, Marlene Yowell, Lucille “Ann” Flatequal and Dorothy Stoltzman, and two brothers, L. Cpl. George Stoltzman and Rudolph “Butch” Stoltzman preceded her in death. 

Interment will be at the Tracy City Cemetery.  The Almlie Funeral Home of Tracy handled the arrangements. 

Online condolences may be placed at

Michael Ramsey, 84

Michael James Ramsey, son of Michael James Ramsey, Sr. and Marie Teresa Ramsey, both deceased, was born July 5, 1924 in Spalding, Nebraska and died on March 14, 2009 at dawn at Hospice of the Valley, Mesa, Arizona.

Mike’s family moved from Spalding to Omaha when he was 14 years old, but Spalding held a special place in his heart every day of his life.

After graduating from high school, Mike was employed by the Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, but he was a people person through and through, ultimately enjoying a career as a salesman in the bread business and then with Ed Phillips and Sons, liquor distributors.

During WWII he served as a U.S. Marine on Iwo Jima, Saipan and Tinian in the South Pacific.  He was recalled by the military during the Korean Conflict, stationed in Laguna Beach, California.

Mike is survived by many friends and relatives who will miss the twinkle in his eye, the spring in his step and his gift of gab.  Among them are his wife, Bettie Jean Evans Ramsey, to whom he was devoted during their 60 year marriage.  He is also survived by their adult children Pam Keul (Tom), Roseville, MN, Claudia Antonelli (John), Gold Canyon, AZ and Jon Ramsey of Tracy, as well as four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Funeral Mass will be held at St. George Roman Catholic Church, Apache Junction, AZ, 10:30 a.m., Thursday, March 19, 2009 with a rosary at 10 a.m. 

A late spring interment is planned at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Minnesota.