Merle A. Kurtz, 91, of Cushing, passed away on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at the Good Samaritan Society of Holstein, Iowa, surrounded by the love of his family.
Service will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at First United Methodist Church in Cushing, with the Rev. Kim A. Crummer officiating. Burial will be in Cushing Cemetery at Cushing. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. today, with a prayer service at 7 p.m., at Nicklas D. Jensen Funeral Home of Correctionville, Iowa. Online condolences can be made at nicklasdjensenfh.com.
Born to Harry and Isabelle (Joslin) Kurtz on Feb. 16, 1928, in Cushing, Iowa, Merle graduated from Cushing High School and spent his life farming. On Sept. 24, 1950, Merle was united in marriage to Mardell Birkley and they lived on the family farm near Cushing. Merle and Mardell raised five children; they also have 15 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. They were married 66 years before Mardell’s death in 2017.
Merle was proud to be a farmer and loved working the family land. That same land was designated as a Century Farm in 1989, first purchased by Merle’s grandfather, Henry, then his father. Raising pure bred Hereford cows and Hampshire hogs, Merle will always be remembered for his striped bib overalls, seed corn caps, his strong work ethic, and his giving heart.
Merle enjoyed long Sunday drives to check out the crops and while he didn’t have many hobbies, he did love to fish and shared that love with the entire family. Nothing was more important to Merle than his family and spending time together, usually around the family table. Merle believed his greatest gift was his five children. He also had a soft spot for his grand and great-grandchildren, and his face would light up whenever they would visit.
Merle and Mardell moved from the family farm to Char Mac Assisted Living in Holstein, Iowa, in August of 2013 and to Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Holstein, in May of 2016, where he was at the time of his death.
Merle is survived by his son, Gary (Cheri) of Correctionville, Iowa, Brant (Alison), Colton and Daxton; Justin (Larissa), Ryver, Reif and Ireland; Cody; daughter, Nancy (Donavon) Noe, Holstein, Iowa, Blake (Melissa), Cove; Bart (Jacque), Mila, Mara and Remington; son, Bob (Nancy) Kurtz of Correctionville, Alicia (Nathan) Drury, Nash and Owen; Tressa (Mark) Kurtz-Jolliffe, Rogan; Ashton (Steve) Huffman, Jacob and Grant; Sami McCrea, Tyrel McCrea, Ryleigh; daughter, Jane (Wes) Kurtz-Teal of Sioux Falls, S.D., Kristina (Kris) Bridges, Lacey Bridges, Lindsay (Josh) Teal-Ambrose, Magdalen and Elliott; and daughter, Sherry (Paul) Kurtz-Anderson of Canton, S.D., Matthew and Nathan; sister, Della Wolf of Cherokee, Iowa; nephew, Max (Laurie) Wolf and family of Owasso, Okla.; niece, Myrna (Chuck) Sell and family of Scottsbluff, Neb.; brother-in-law, Mike (Phyllis) Birkley of Hubbard, Neb.; cousin, Eldon (Vicki) Nippert; and several nieces and nephews.
Merle also made some very special friends at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home, Marshall Uhl, Gary Rohlf, LouDale Sales, and Dave Kuhlman.
Merle is preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Mardell; and his parents Harry and Isabelle Kurtz.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Cushing Fire Department. This caring group of volunteers were always quick to respond if needed when Merle and Mardell still lived on the farm.