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Memories & Candles

“Thank you for being one of my favorite uncles. Getting to play bass guitar with all of you at the farm. Spending time at your house as a kid. You...Read More »
1 of 4 | Posted by: Karen Healey - Lewisville, TX

“Our thankfulness with having dad in our lives. You were a caring loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather who will truly be missed. Love,...Read More »
2 of 4 | Posted by: Brenda Hurtado Messenger - NV

“It has been a long time but I still remember in 1955 Merlin, Warren Becker, Dave Hatcher and I riding motorcycles together. In August 1955 we took a...Read More »
3 of 4 | Posted by: Jerry Mathison - Woodbine, IA

“My best memory is going fishing with my dad it's something we always did together. He was always so happy when we were fishing, we would go home...Read More »
4 of 4 | Posted by: Marilyn Gabel - Sanford, NC


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Merlin Dawain Messenger was born on June 23, 1935, near Woodbine, Iowa to Ralph and Hazel (Sindt) Messenger. He attended country school and Woodbine High School graduating with the class of 1953. Merlin worked for Bell Telephone Company in Norfolk, Nebraska, and returned to Woodbine to farm and work for area farmers. Merlin proudly served in the US Army from 1955 to 1957 and four years in the reserves. He continued farming until 1965. In 1965 he started building grain bins and metal buildings and did this for 25 years. Merlin and Rhonda purchased the Westside Tap in 1985 and sold it in 1997. Merlin married Rhonda Ruff on November 20, 1986, with Francis Harper officiating. In 2003, the couple moved to the Lake of the Ozarks area in Missouri. They returned to Woodbine in 2011.

Merlin enjoyed hunting and fishing and most of all having his morning coffee with his friends at the Corn Palace.

Merlin died on Monday, November 20, 2017, at the Community Memorial Hospital in Missouri Valley, Iowa at the age of 82 years, four months and 28 days.

Merlin was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Lyle and Ray Messenger; sister, Audrey Woodridge; two dogs, Dakota and Maggie and a cat, Sammy. He is survived by his wife, Rhonda Messenger of Woodbine, Iowa; four children, Bob Messenger of Logan, Iowa, Debbie Messenger of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Brenda and her husband Jesse Hurtado of Las Vegas, Nevada and Marilyn and her husband Steve Gable of Stanford, North Carolina; nine grandchildren; two great grandchildren; two sisters, Vera Curtis of Des Moines, Iowa and Lamoyne Hummel of Crane, Missouri; brother, Lloyd Messenger and his wife Geri of Woodbine, Iowa; and many other relatives and friends.