Merlin Wendland, 91, passed away in his home on February 12, 2020.
Merlin was born in Waumandee, Wisconsin to Otto and Stella (Krause) Wendland Feb. 18, 1928. He spent many of his early years working on the family farm and visiting his Grandpa Bill’s farm on the Nelson Ridge. The family moved to the town of Cochrane in the late 1930’s. Merlin’s Mother, Stella, passed away when he was 12 and his Dad, Otto, as a single father of 4 children, worked hard at multiple jobs.
When Merlin was 16, he worked on the tow boats on the Mississippi River. He joined the Navy in 1945 when he was 17 and got to see the World. His first oversees assignment was on Okinawa right at the at end of WW II in the Pacific. He spent 16 months on a Navy oil tanker refueling ships at sea and eventually went to Saudi Arabia and through the Suez Canal.
When he returned from the Navy in 1951, he married Clarice Pronschinske and settled in Milwaukee. He met Clarice at the Prairie Moon Dance Hall just south of Cochrane. He went to school to become a Journeyman Machinist and specialized in machine repair/re-build, he always told people he was a “Machine Repairman”
Merlin worked at many places in Milwaukee and endured many job cutbacks and layoffs. He was most proud of his time at AC Electronics (General Motors) where he worked on machines that built guidance/gyro systems for the early rockets for manned space flight and was part of the team that built the guidance systems for the Apollo Moon Missions at the AC Electronics factory in Oak Creek Wisconsin.
He loved hunting and fishing and was a collector of all sorts of fishing gear and guns. If there was some sort of new reel, or lure, Merlin would have to have one.
Merlin and Clarice moved to the La Crosse area after retirement to be near to his favorite Mississippi River fishing spots and their relatives. Merlin enjoyed visits from his Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren, there was always a sparkle in his eye when they visited.
Merlin spent the last years of his life living in his own house, enjoying his morning trips to Kwik Trip for coffee/cookies and visiting friends. He enjoyed his daily lunch at the La Crosse Family Restaurant where he met many friends especially Mike and Mary. We would like to thank the staff there who treated him with kindness.
Merlin is survived by his son Howard (Nan), daughter Sharon, grandsons Nathan (Lindsay), Alva (Mandy), Tony (Lyz), great-granddaughters Lexi, Aubrey, Brenna, Grace and Kaiya, sisters-in laws Kathleen Bocchi, JoAnn Lemancik, Delores Pronschinske, and many nieces and nephews.
Merlin was preceded in death by his Wife Clarice (Pronschinske), his parents Otto and Stella, Step Mother Evelyn, brothers; Glenn Wendland, Allen Wendland, sister Delores (Wendland) Tandetzke , brothers-in-law Albert Jr. (Bud) Pronschinske, Harlan Pronschinske, Joe Bocchi, Rob Lemancik , Richard Tandetzke, sister-in-law, Pat (Harlan) Pronschinske, and nephew Bradley Lang.
Family and friends called from 10:30AM on Feb. 19th until the time of Service at 11:00AM at the Wozney-Killian Funeral Home, 1378 Wilson Ave. Arcadia, WI, followed by a lunch at the Arcadia Country Club. Military burial ceremony at the Buffalo City Cemetery after lunch.
Online condolences may be left at Wozneykillianfh.com
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations in Merlin’s name to the Cochrane VFW Post 10406 PO Box 84 Cochrane, WI 54622.