L. Merle (Deke) Myers
L. Merle (Deke) Myers, 90, died on June 23, 2020, at a hospice home in Gilbert, Ariz., of COVID-19. He was a resident of Brookdale North retirement home in Scottsdale and former resident of Melrose Meadows in Iowa City.
Loren Merle Myers was born June 29, 1929, in Abingdon, Iowa, the son of Clyde and Mildred (Wilson) Myers. Shortly after he graduated from Packwood High School, he headed to Washington, D.C., to work for the FBI. That opportunity came after he struck up a conversation with a stranger one day at the Packwood depot. Before reboarding the train, the man a government recruiter gave him his business card and told him to give him a call if he was interested in working for the FBI.
He promptly started filling out the paperwork so he could move East. Merle's first day in the office, he saw the gentleman and asked: "Why me? Why offer me a job?" His answer: "You had a strong handshake, looked me in the eye and could carry on a great conversation."
For the next eight years, Merle worked for the FBI, where he met his wife, Jean, a young woman from Tennessee who also moved to the big city to pursue a better life. They married nine months later on Sept. 30, 1950, in Washington, D.C.
The following year, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a medic during the Korean War through 1953. Merle and Jean moved to Packwood in 1955, and he partnered in business with his father buying and selling local livestock at the Clyde A. Myers & Son Stockyards. After selling the stockyards in 1971, he went to work as a gas hauler for Dickey Transportation in Packwood. He also drove for Indianhead Truck Lines and Ruan Transport in Coralville. In 1973, Merle and Jean moved their family to Iowa City, where they lived for 44 years.
In 1991, Merle officially became a retired Teamster and gladly traded his seat in the 18-wheeler for a golf cart. He loved golf and played regularly with many family members and friends. For 20 years, his summers were filled with foursomes at Fairview Golf Course and his winters were spent playing cards with golf buddies in the clubhouse. Another favorite activity was entertaining his grandchildren throughout the year on weekends and in the summer.
All four grandkids have great memories of hanging out in Iowa City with their grandparents. More than one has said it was better than going to Disney World. They loved riding the Cub Cadet lawn mower and Grandpa's golf cart, fishing at Lake Macbride, going to the tractor pulls at the Johnson County fair and learning how to play cribbage. Staying with Grandpa Merle and Grandma Jean also meant eating to your heart's content. Highlights included homemade ice cream that Grandpa cranked by hand, trips to the truck stop to pick out favorite candy, and, of course, the late evening snack of freshly made popcorn a daily staple at Grandpa's house chased with Pepsi on ice. Spending time with Grandpa Merle was not going to be anything extravagant, but it was going to be filled with outdoor activities, love, hugs and lots of laughter.
A lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan, he attended many games with his parents, wife, daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren, including a World Series game in 1968. He moved to Scottsdale after Jean died in 2017.
Merle worked hard and made sure his daughters had a better life than he did. That work ethic also allowed him to enjoy retirement for 29 years, almost a third of his life. We should all be so lucky. He leaves us with great memories of a life well-lived.
He was a longtime member and deacon at the First Christian Church in Packwood; a member of First Christian Church in Coralville; a member of the Johnson County commission for veterans for several years, and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars along with several other Korean War veteran organizations.
His surviving loved ones include two daughters, Vickie Barnhouse (Bob) of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Melody Myers (Ken Offenberg) of Charlotte, N.C.; grandchildren, Kim Koogler-Franklin (Sean Franklin), J.D. Koogler (Cindy), Ben Offenberg and Sam Offenberg; and two great-grandchildren, Zane and Alanna Koogler. Merle also was very close to the Found family: Ernie, Ellyn, Gregg, Catharine and Caroline.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean; his parents; and two sisters, Marvalene Hendrickson and Marilyn Mercer.
His two daughters ask you to honor Merle's memory by wearing a mask to help stop this awful pandemic. Scientific evidence shows masks save lives.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Found Family Foundation, in care of West Bank, 401 10th Ave, Coralville, IA 52241.
A memorial service will be held in Iowa City in 2021.
Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service is caring for Merle's family and his services. To share a thought, memory or condolence with Merle's family, please visit the funeral home website at www.gayandciha.com.