WENDELL MERRILL, 95 of Ogallala, passed away Sunday, December 9, 2018, at Welcov Assisted Living in Ogallala. This devout Christian man loved Jesus and attended church services regularly over his entire lifetime, even up to two weeks before his passing. In recent months, his habit was to prefer getting up to "head home" during the last song of the service. He, fittingly, went on to his eternal home during the last song of the Sunday worship service.
Wendell was born March 18, 1923 at Elsie, Nebraska the son of Harry Edward and Geneva Nell (Witt) Merrill. He attended a country school near Hamlet and graduated from the Elsie High School. He excelled in track and as a senior in 1941 was awarded a first-place medal along with his 440 relay team at the State High School Meet in Lincoln in Class D. The team and coach, "Prof" Bradley, were taken to Lincoln by Ward Bullock in the Grant funeral home's hearse. They rode in the back sitting on apple crates.
On June 19, 1949 he married Carolyn Rogers at Elsie, Nebraska where the couple made their first home. Wendell was employed at Allan's Grocery Store during his teenage years and owned and operated a grocery store in Grainton for a few years before purchasing a fruit and vegetable wholesale route. He drove a truck to Denver to obtain his produce products. He also worked briefly at Humphrey Auto Supply in Ogallala before beginning his employment for John Deere. In the late 1960's he and Keith Reed became partners and over the years acquired five John Deere dealerships. Wendell also began farming, acquiring farmland near Wallace and Venango. He enjoyed farming until his retirement.
Wendell served as the Vice President of the Ogallala Chamber of Commerce for three years. He was a devout follower of Jesus, attending the Church of Christ and served as an elder of the church for many years. He taught Sunday School and Bible School classes and drove the church bus encouraging area children to ride the bus to services and learn about Jesus. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He enjoyed singing, playing golf, supporting Nebraska football and watching many other sporting events.
The family would like to express their sincere thanks to the staff and residents of Welcov in Ogallala for their love and care of Wendell, as well as the Ogallala Community Hospital and Medical Clinic for their excellent care.
Survivors include two sons, David Merrill of Broomfield, CO and Scott Merrill of Arizona; four grandchildren, Ryan (Kourtney) Merrill of Denver, CO, Eric (Jodi) Merrill of Prescott, AZ, Eboni Merrill of Omaha, NE and Ambri (Ted) Vogel of Bennington, NE; seven great-grandchildren, Sam, Alec, & Finn Merrill of Denver, CO, Maddie & Chase Merrill of Prescott, AZ, Jackson & Adeline Vogel of Bennington, NE; two former daughters-in-law, Gwen McQuisten of Ogallala and Judy Merrill of Mesa, AZ; three sisters-in-law, Gloria Merrill, Mary Pedigo, and Loreen Harshman; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Carolyn Merrill; an infant daughter, Debra DeeAnn; two sisters, Edith (Claude) Graves and Doris (Harry) Schack; and one brother, William Merrill.
Memorials are suggested to Church of Christ, 502 West K Street, Ogallala, NE 69153, in Wendell's memory. Online condolences can be shared at prairiehillsfuneralhome.com.
A memorial service will be Saturday, February, 2, 2019 at 1:00pm at the Church of Christ in Ogallala. Inurnment will be in the Ogallala Cemetery.
Prairie Hills Funeral Home of Ogallala, NE is in charge of arrangements.