Merle Jean Klinger, 97, of Fort Dodge, formerly of Somers and Farnhamville, passed away on Thursday, December 19, 2019, at Simpson Health Center, Friendship Haven, Fort Dodge.
Celebration of Life Service will be 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 29, 2019 at the Celebration Center, Friendship Haven, Fort Dodge, with Pastor Jennifer Osheim-Owen officiating. Family graveside service will be at Reading Township Cemetery, Farnhamville, prior to the service. Palmer Funeral Home, Gowrie, is serving the family.
Merle will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her, including son, Mike (Cathie) Klinger of Corpus Christi, TX; daughter, Joyce (Kirby) Schmidt of Clear Lake; grandchildren, Richard Klinger; Michael (Laurie) Klinger; Allison (Cody) Lycke; Dana (Danielle) Schmidt; step-granddaughter, Shane (Tim) Weg; 10 great- grandchildren; brother-in-law, Roger (Bonnie) Klinger of Council Bluffs; and nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Duane Klinger; her parents, Carl and Amber Johnson; brother, Carl; half sister, Dolpha (Kelly) Weston; and half brother, Bill Kelly.
Merle was born November 28, 1922, in the telephone office in Arthur where her mother worked as a switchboard operator. The Johnson family moved to Minnesota during the Depression in 1930, then moved back to Lake City in 1938. Merle graduated from Lake City High School in 1941.
After high school, Merle worked as a waitress at Cronk's Cafe in Denison. She later worked as a waitress and short-order cook at Mickey's Diner in St. Paul, Minnesota. During World War II, she worked in the defense plant in St. Louis.
Merle moved to Somers in 1946 and graduated from beauty school in Fort Dodge in 1947. When she moved to Somers, her mother was a switchboard operator there. One day Duane Klinger saw Merle sitting in the window of the telephone office running the switchboard, and he thought he better go in and get acquainted. They were married at the Little Brown Church in 1947. Together they raised Mike and Joyce on a farm on the edge of Somers. Merle had her own beauty shop in Somers for many years.
She was most famous for her home cooking, hospitality and quick wit. What she lacked in height she made up for with her feistiness. Preparing good food was just one of the ways Merle loved and cared for her family and all of the people in her life. Duane and the other workers on the farm enjoyed Merle's cooking. Duane and Merle farmed in the Callender and Somers area until 1985. She led many bean-walking crews during the summers.
After retiring, Duane and Merle moved to Farnhamville where family, friends and guests were always welcome for good food, dessert, coffee and conversation. She always encouraged people to take another helping of food. They lived in Farnhamville for nearly 30 years before moving to Friendship Haven. Merle was Duane's favorite cook for the 68 years they shared together until his death in 2016.
Throughout her life, Merle enjoyed cooking, baking, crocheting, traveling, golfing, playing games, gardening, driving her minivan, mowing the lawn on her riding mower, and feeding birds. Cardinals and hummingbirds were two of her favorites.
Most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her children, grandchildren and especially her great-grandchildren, and always enjoyed visiting with family and friends. Even more than her recipes and home cooking, the love she shared over her 97 years will forever live on in our hearts. She has gone Home for the holidays as she peacefully went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Memorials may be left to the Somers United Methodist Church, Unity Point Hospice or Friendship Haven.