On the morning of August 21, 2019, another member of the Greatest Generation passed through history and on to Heaven.
Born on January 14, 1924, to Charles and Gertrude Warner, Merton Charles Warner and his twin brother, Berton, were beloved brothers of Elsie, Della, and Dick. He grew up helping on his dad’s rural grocery delivery route, and the family even spent one winter living in a logging camp where his mother was the camp cook. Hunting and fishing were means of putting dinner on the table, but continued to be a source of enjoyment through his life and he passed down the deer camp tradition to his grandchildren.
Merton was a proud World War II Veteran. Merton and Berton were drafted in the spring of 1943 and left for the army prior to their graduation. They were separated, and Berton continued to North Africa without him. Merton served as a medic in the 71st Infantry Division, and as a part of the “Big Red One” saw the most days of continuous fighting in World War II. He was part of the liberating force at Gunskirchen-Lager concentration camp.
Back at home he was an active part of the Lockman-Jensen American Legion Post where he served as Post Commander for two years and Adjutant Post Commander of Post #499 for 32 years.
He married June Arlene Terry on October 1, 1955, on the opening day of duck season, after first spending the morning hunting. June was known for her excellent baked goods and Mert was known for volunteering to provide them for all community occasions!
After a bout with cancer, Mert became a leading fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. He sold tickets for the American Legion raffles with the same enthusiasm. “No one could refuse to buy a ticket from Mert!” his family said. “One of his favorite stories was of going to one door of a home and selling a ticket to the wife, only to go to a different door and sell another ticket to the husband!”
Mert was employed for almost 35 years by the Chicago & Northwestern Railway as an Agent-Telegrapher, and finally as a demurrage clerk.
“Mert loved woodworking,” his family said. “He and June were fixtures at the annual Gordon holiday craft fair, and he was so happy to be featured in a newspaper article! His wooden trucks, toys and other items have a treasured place in many homes. Even during his recent hospitalization, he could be found signing the book he wrote, ‘My Nickel’s Journey’, and giving away trucks to staff,” said his family.
He was active in many organizations in Gordon: as an elder in the Gordon Presbyterian church, a member of the volunteer Fire Department and the Gordon-Wascott Historical Society, and he and June were well known for giving away free ice-cream at the early Gordon Good Neighbor Days.
“All of those things paled in comparison to his love of his wife, June, and his family,” said his family. “Mert was young at heart and always had a ready smile for visitors. He was dearly loved and will be missed, until we meet again.”
Mert was preceded in death by his dear wife, June, as well as his parents, Charles and Gertrude, and his siblings, Elsie (Clayton) Wood, Della (Malcolm) Baland, Berton (Fern) Warner, and Richard “Dick” (Judy) Warner. Also passing earlier were June’s parents, Charles and Jennie Terry, and June’s siblings, Forrest (Marion) Terry and Robert (Ruth) Terry, and grandson Kraig Vossekuil.
He is survived by his children, Debra (Tom) Krsnich, Chuck (Brenda) Warner, Cheri (Brian) Nickell, and Diane Vossekuil, and his sisters-in-law, Carol (Craig) Smith and Elaine (Bill) Bailey, who were both so very special to him.
He will be missed by his grandchildren Jason (Sarah) Warner and their children, Zach, Annika and Elise; Heather (Dave) Holton and their children, Joe, Sam, Claire, and Nick; Nicholas (Amber) Al-Moghrabi and their children, Emmett and Aria; Jessica Nickell; Gary (Laura)Vossekuil and their daughters Hannah and Sami; Kurt (Rhonda) Vossekuil and their children, Michael, Claire, and Carson; and Ryan (Maria) Vossekuil and their children Leah, Lauren, and Alena.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 27, at The First Presbyterian Church in Gordon, with Pastor Richard Blood officiating.
Visitation will be held at the church on Monday, Aug. 26, from 4 until 7 p.m., and for one hour prior to the service.
Interment will be at the Gordon Cemetery with full military honors, and a luncheon will follow at the church.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Spooner Funeral Home.
Condolences may be shared at bratley-nelsonchapels.com.