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Merlyn Wanous, 76

Merlyn Henry Wanous, age 76, of Silver Lake, formerly of Excelsior, died Tuesday, April 13, 2010, at his home after a brave fight with cancer.

He was born July 10, 1933, in Stockholm Township, Wright County, to Henry and Mabel (Sopkowiak) Wanous. Merlyn was confirmed in the Catholic faith as a youth at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Silver Lake.

He attended St. Joseph Parochial School (now Holy Family) in Silver Lake through eighth grade, and continued his education at Cretin High School in St. Paul, graduating with the class of 1951.

Merlyn was united in marriage to Betty Dallmann July 15, 1954, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Silver Lake. This marriage was blessed with three children: Michael, Lavonne, and Duane; and eight grandchildren. Merlyn and Betty shared almost 56 years of marriage.

Merlyn entered the US Army April 13, 1955, serving initially at Ft. Knox, KY, and later at Ft. Sheridan, IL, where he was assigned to the 86th Missile Battalion. He attained the rank of Specialist 4 and was honorably discharged April 12, 1957.

Merlyn held employment with Minneapolis Moline in Hopkins, followed by 31 years with the Excelsior Post Office (26 years as Route 3 rural carrier). While working at the post office, he also worked part time at the liquor store in Excelsior and operated a family truck gardening business for over 20 years.

He enjoyed farming the available land around their Excelsior home during this time, for as long as it was available. He and Betty were members of St. John the Baptist Catholic church in Excelsior.

Merlyn retired from the post office in 1990, after which he worked with his son, Duane, in his woodworking business. For 33 years, Merlyn served on the board of directors of the Mid-County Oil Cooperative of Cologne (formerly known as Minnesota Victoria Oil Co., Victoria), during which time he also served a term both as board president and vice president.

After residing in the Excelsior area for 46 years, Merlyn and Betty moved to the Wanous family farm (originally owned by his grandfather and recognized as a Minnesota Century Farm in 1982), northwest of Silver Lake, in 2006.

Merlyn enjoyed gardening, hobby farming, reading, and making and fixing machinery. He was especially proud of his 1939 John Deere H tractor, which he used to saw wood and do miscellaneous chores around the farm. Most of all, Merlyn enjoyed spending time with his family.

He is survived by his wife, Betty Wanous of Silver Lake; children Michael Wanous of Winfield, IL, Lavonne Kucera and her husband, James of Eagan, and Duane Wanous and his wife, Linda of Silver Lake; grandchildren Kristina, Kimberly and Steven Wanous; Brittany, Victoria and Kevin Kucera; and Quentin and Justin Wanous; a brother, David Wanous of Cokato; a sister, Elaine Bebo and her husband, Wilfred of Silver Lake; nieces, nephews, and many other relatives and friends.

Merlyn was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Mabel Wanous.

A Mass of Christian Burial took place Saturday, April 17 at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church in Silver Lake, with Father Brian Oestreich officiating. Organist and song leader was Alice Nowak. Interment was in the Holy Family Catholic Cemetery, with military honors provided by Silver Lake Legion Honor Guard.

Casket bearers were Tommy Bebo, Craig Wanous, Eric Vasko, Robert Sopkowiak, Travis Wanous, and Jason Pawlicki.

Arrangements were by the Dobratz-Hantge Chapel in Hutchinson; online obituaries and guest book available at www.hantge.com.