Merle L. Steinmann, age 77, resident of Lakota, ND, died Sunday, July 4, 2021 at the Good Samaritan Society in Lakota.
Merle Lee Steinmann was born in Devils Lake, ND on November 4, 1943 to Jean and Leland Steinmann of Lakota, ND. He and his sister Erma attended the McHugh country school and then Lakota schools. Merle enlisted in the Navy after high school and served in the Vietnam war in intelligence as a Communications Technician R (Radio) with Commander Task Force 77 on the USS Hancock, USS Oriskany, USS Kittyhawk, and USS Constellation. He was also stationed for a time in Japan along with several locations in the US. He was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for his service and received an Honorable Discharge from the Navy in 1966. Upon returning home he met and married Nancy Charon, and they remained married for 53 years until his death from Parkinson’s disease.
Merle and Nancy had three children and two grandchildren of which Merle was very proud. Along with being a war veteran and a teacher, Merle was a farmer, a musician, a real estate agent, an insurance and car salesman. Merle had some success as a songwriter and recording artist, releasing his first 45 in high school with Curtis and the Galaxies, and one of his songs “I Love You, North Dakota” getting air time on radio stations in the 80s. Merle played in many bands in his lifetime, including the Navy band, the German Band, and several other original and cover bands. Merle was an avid reader, sometimes reading a novel in a day or two. He was active in the Lakota community, a member of the Lakota Lutheran Church council, an EMT with the Lakota ambulance, and a member of the American Legion and officer with the Freemasons.
Merle earned a BA from Valley City State university and completed post graduate work at the University of North Dakota. He started his teaching career at Lakota High School, taught for many years as an outreach teacher for the North Dakota School for the Blind, was a teacher on two different Indian Reservations in his teaching career, taught GED classes to people who were incarcerated, and returned to farming after retirement.
Merle is survived by his wife Nancy, children Heather, Ted (Kristi), and Jeanna, grandchildren Inga and Zelie, his sister Erma Matejcek, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Leland and Jean Steinmann, sister-in-law Judy Charon, brother-in-law James “Jimmy” Charon, and brother-in-law Gordon Matejcek.
A celebration of life will be held at the Lakota Park shelter from 7-9 pm on Friday, July 9, 2021. In case of inclement weather, the celebration will be relocated to the Aaker Funeral Home in Lakota. Funeral services will be at Lakota Lutheran Church on Saturday, July 10th at 10:30 am. Interment will follow at the Lakota cemetery with military honors.
The family thanks the VA Healthcare system, especially Dr. Rasmussen, for her care and guidance in what proved to be many difficult years with Parkinson’s disease. Thanks also to the staff at Bethany Retirement Living in Fargo, the Good Samaritan Society in Lakota, Hospice of the Red River Valley, and friends and family who have offered their support, too numerous to name.
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