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Merlin "Eager" Robert Martinson

Merlin "Eager" Robert Martinson, age 70, of Dassel, and formerly of Cokato, passed away Thursday, Oct. 24, 2002, at home in Dassel after a brief battle with cancer.

Eager was born June 22, 1932, in St. Paul. He graduated from Cokato High School in 1950 and served in the US Army during the Korean War from 1952 to 1954. His decorations included the Korean service ribbon with two bronze service stars, United Nations service medal, National Defense service medal, and Republic of Korea presidential unit citation.

As an entrepreneur, he invested in real estate and started the Howard Lake Ready Mix. His other business endeavors included owning a junk yard, director of Scandia Campers, and was a partner in a wild rice operation in Waskish, Minn.

Eager was very active in many civic organizations, including Cokato American Legion and Drill Squad, Concerned United Birth Parents (CUB), Bible study leader and Sunday school teacher, Wright County Shriner's Clown Club, and Shrine Club.

Merlin was very active with the growth and development of the local and surrounding communities. He pursued this as president of Cokato Development Corporation, a Cokato City Council member, and as a member of Howard Lake Development corporation.

A licensed pilot, Eager enjoyed flying, traveling, living at his Mesa, Ariz. home in the winter, and spending time with his family. He was a member of the Cokato Flying Club and Friends of the 261 (train club).

Eager was preceded in death by adoptive parents Andrew and Alma Martinson, birthmother Ida Ahlman, birthfather Arthur Leonard, sisters Malentina and Lorraine, brother Larry, and grandson Jesse.

He is survived by his wife Judi, daughter Jackie (Joel) Russell of Cokato, son Scott Martinson of St. Louis Park, daughter Michelle Martinson of St. Louis Park, daughter Christina Martinson of Brooklyn Park, brother Willard Goede of St. Cloud, and grandson Jordan Russell.

Visitation took place Sunday, Oct. 27, from 4 to 8 p.m., at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Cokato and one hour prior to the church service.

A funeral service took place Monday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. at Evangelical Lutheran Church, Cokato, with the Rev. Stephen Sherer and the Rev. LaDon Rydberg officiating.

Music was provided by Karen Anderson, Susan Lindahl, the Rev. LaDon Rydberg, and Deloris Larson.

Casket bearers were Mac Murry, Joe Froehle, Karl Forsman, David Peterson, Don Levens, Tony Saber, Carl Norman, Carl Holm, Wyman Nelson, and Paul Boger.

Honorary casket bearers were Paul Olson, Alan Stenseth, Louie Ahles, the Rev. Daniel Olson, Charles Crafts, Howard Jorgenson, Darrel Neilsen, Jerry Ahles, Brad Nye, and Larry Anderson.

Interment took place at Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Cokato.

Arrangements were made by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Cokato and Howard Lake.

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