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Merlin D. Place

Merlin D. Place

Merlin Dale Place age 92, of Elmwood, died Wednesday at Welcome Home Assisted Living in Elmwood.  Merlin was born near Lawton Wisconsin on November 30, 1930. He was the son of Melvin and Signa (Anderson) Place. Merlin spent his early childhood in Spring Valley and following the Flood of 1942, moved with his family to Elmwood.  Merlin was an avid reader though not terribly excited about school.   When the opportunity presented itself, he left school to join the Navy.  Merlin was assigned to both the USS Gyatt and USS K.D. Bailey making several voyages to Europe and the Mediterranean.  While home on leave in 1950, a beautiful redhead he’d known since kindergarten caught his eye.  And on St. Patrick’s Day, 1951, Merlin married the love of his life, Virginia Mae Evans. 

Merlin left the Navy in 1955 and in 1957 he and Virginia along with their children, moved back to Elmwood onto the “Little Farm” where he started milking, by hand, his first herd of 15 cows.  Merlin and Virginia eventually settled on the old Henry Hanson farm in Spring Lake Township in 1967 where they lived for the next 53 years.  In June 2020, Merlin and Virginia moved to Welcome Home Assisted Living in Elmwood where they were residing at the time of his passing.

Family was the most important thing in Merlin’s life.  He adored his wife of 72 years, was an amazing father to his three children, a devoted grandfather to his grandchildren and great grandchildren and a pillar of strength to his siblings, in-laws and their families.  He was a kind, gentle, honest and humble man dedicated to his family, his farm, his church, community and country and his dancing.  Merlin held multiple offices as a member of the American Legion in Elmwood, Pierce County, and regionally.  He transported veterans to the VA Hospital in Minneapolis for fourteen years, organized untold numbers of meals for the Legion, spearheaded countless pancake suppers at Spring Lake Lutheran Church and danced and danced and danced.  Whenever possible, Merlin danced.  He loved to polka and waltz with Virginia.  The two of them traveled with friends to dances throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota.  The couple traveled the US visiting family and friends wherever they could be found.  His last trip was in 2018 when he participated in an Honor Flight to Washington DC.  Merlin was proud of the fact his son and grandchildren followed in his footsteps by joining the military.   Currently serving or having served are Dale, Rebecca, Lee, Sam, and Logan.

Merlin is survived by his life partner, Virginia. Children: Jeannie (Blaze Cunningham) Place, Dale (Kay) Place, and Anthony (Martha Perez) Place. Grandchildren: Marla (Bill) Butler, Rebecca Place, Lee (Kelsey) Place, Samuel Cunningham, step-grandchildren Brandon (Leigh) Cunningham and Amber (John Uptmoor) Cunningham.  Great grandchildren: Logan (Sarah Dunbar) Butler, Victoria Butler, Kaden and Kenzie Place, Helena and Annabel Cunningham.  He is also survived by his sisters Maxine (Eldon) Huber, Shirley Browning, Shelby Crow and brother Mike Place, sister-in-law Betty Evans, brother-in-law Robert (Marilyn) Manor, numerous nieces and nephews, cousins and countless friends old and young.  He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers-in-law Everett Monett, George Browning, Harvey Crow and John Evans, sister-in-law Linda Place, nephews Don Monett, Anthony and Russell Crow and niece Kris McMaster.

Funeral Services will be at 11:00 AM Wednesday, January 18, 2023, at Spring Lake Lutheran Church with Rev. Peter Friberg officiating.  Burial will be in the Spring Lake Lutheran Cemetery with military honors provided by Crain-Ottman American Legion Post 207, Elmwood WI.

Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 PM Tuesday at Welcome Home Assisted Living, in Elmwood and one prior to services at the church on Wednesday.   

Memorials are preferred with the family requesting donations be directed to the Spring Lake Lutheran Cemetery, PO Box 386, Spring Valley WI 54767.

The family wishes to thank Mel Schoeder, Paula Weisenbeck, and all the staff at Welcome Home Assisted Living for your loving care and concern for Dad.  You are too many to mention but each one of you has a special place in the hearts of the family.  Thank you. 


  1. Mary Boggs

    I never got to meet great uncle Merlin, but my grandmother (Shirley) always tells us stories about him and the rest of their siblings. He reached slightly mythical status to me- mostly because I thought it was really cool that I had a great uncle named Merlin who was a dairy farmer. I regret not having gotten the chance to meet the man behind the myth. He seemed like a real stand up guy.

  2. James Krause

    Virginia, Jeanne, and Family, I just read about Merlin's passing tonight. I am so sorry to hear the news. You all have my condolences. I have known Merlin since he took over our farm when dad [ Walt Krause] started hauling milk. Merlin, Virginia and family were great people to be around. I went with Jeanne and a few others for a weeks hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon when I got out of the Navy in 1971. Great times. I loved visiting with Merlin when I saw him. I never could get him to sell me the Farmall that dad bought new when we were on the farm. It had a good home all these years. I am praying ???? for all the Family.

  3. Sharon Seefeldt (Olson)s

    Virginia and family, sorry to hear of Merlin's passing. He always had a smile. Lots of memories. Hugs and prayers

  4. Donna Thompson (Bauer)

    I was so sorry to hear of Merlin's passing. Virginia, Jeanne and all, you have my deepest sympathy.

    What a great smile he had!

  5. Peggy Legut

    To the Place Family, especially Virginia, I offer my sympathy and prayers.

    I’ll always remember Merlin as a strong man. He would tackle anything that came his way. The after church breakfast’s will be something I’ll never forget. He always cracked a joke or two to make us laugh. He adored Virginia. He was so caring and helpful to anyone he met.

  6. Kandy and John Olson

    Sorry for your loss

  7. Rose Burke

    Rest In Peace Merlin! My thoughts are with Virginia and family ????

  8. Jae Ellen Hamlin

    Such a wonderful man, and great friend through all these years. Filled with loving humor, and compassion for all. Will be truly missed. Love to all, during this difficult time.

  9. Bill and Sue (Manor) Wynn

    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Merlin. I have such great memories of him and Virginia dancing with my parents.

  10. Frank and Pam Sullivan

    Our prayers and condolences to Virginia and your extended family. You had a heart of gold and a deep and loyal love for your many wonderful years together. You will be missed by so many. We were proud to have been a part of your life.

  11. Marilyn Galoff

    Virginia and family. I am so sorry to hear about Merlin. He was my rock and inspiration when I took over as Commander of the Legion. I will miss his humor and the many conversations that we had over the years.

  12. Jackie Sailer

    Virginia and family, sorry to hear of Merlin’s passing. Sending thoughts and prayers!

  13. Karen & Earl Gunderson

    Sending our deepest condolences at the loss of your husband, Dad, grandfather, great grandfather.
    Karen & Earl

  14. Gary & Judi Krause Bauer

    Our deepest sympathy Virginia to you and your family. Merlin was one of my dads favorites. Loved to visit with Merlin when our paths crossed over the years. He was a great guy

  15. Ann (Webb) Bluhm

    So sorry to hear about Merlin. What a kind man. My sympathies to Virginia and the family.

  16. Steve & Diane Radle

    Thinking of you Virginia, Jeanne & family and keeping you in our prayers.

  17. Suzi Crownhart

    Virginia and family, My sympathy on Merlin’s passing. He was such a wonderful guy. Rest in peace Merlin.

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