Merlin ‘Mike’ Mestad, 89, Stewartville
Merlin “Mike” Mestad, 89, of rural Stewartville, died Thursday, July 1, 2021, of natural - causes at Shorewood Senior Living in Rochester.
Merlin Elmer Mestad was born on October 22, 1931, in Hayfield, to Elmer and Jeanette (Eastlee), Mestad. He grew up on the family farm, attended country school, and graduated from Hayfield High School. in 1949.
He was employed as a truck driver with Alexandria Construction in Minneapolis until joining the US Army in 1952. He served overseas in Korea during the conflict. Following his discharge in 1954 he continued working for Alexandria Construction.
Merlin was married on October 19, 1957 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hayfield to Carol Mae Gommels. Following their marriage, the couple lived in Rochester for five years before moving to rural Stewartville where they made their home for nearly 60 years and raised their family.
Merlin was employed at IBM in Rochester, for 12 years before his employment at the Olmsted County Highway Department where he plowed snow, mowed, and maintained county roads for 25 years until his retirement. He was a part-time driver for Mack Truck in Rochester, transporting semis, for 17 years.
Merlin was a long-time member of East St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Rock Dell, where he served on the Church Council, ushered, and with Carol, sang in the choir and always enjoyed volunteering for the annual Lutefisk Supper.
He was a past member of the Hayfield American Legion and was a member of the Stewartville American Legion. He enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and trapping and was a member of the National Trappers Assn. and the National Fur Takers Assn. Merlin and Carol were avid campers, gardeners and began organic gardening many years ago.
He belonged to the Zumbro Valley Treasure Hunting Metal Detector Club in Rochester. Merlin was proud of his Norwegian heritage, spoke fluid Norwegian and made sure his children knew some of his native language. He enjoyed visiting with friends, neighbors, and loved time spent with his family.
Merlin is survived by his loving wife of 63 years - Carol; three daughters and one son - Lynn (Gerald) Margotta, of Farmington, Julie (Craig) Williams of Maricopa, Ariz., Craig Mestad (Robin Brown) of Pierre, S.D., and Lisa (Vance) Fiegel of Shakopee; six grandchildren – Samanthia (David) Jensen, Michael Williams, Maran (Andrew) Brown, Ezekiel “Zeke” Mestad, Tanner Franz, Stephanie Franz and two great-grandchildren – Ariel and Greyson; one brother – Daniel (Colleen) Holtorf, of Buffalo and two sisters-in-law – Janice Mestad of Babbitt, Doris Mestad, of Fairbault, and two brothers-in-law – Zeke Zackerson of Saint George, Utah.; Bill Murray of Lake Elmo. He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters – Joyce Zackerson, Dorothy “Dottie” Murray, three brothers –Delmont Mestad, Richard Mestad, and an infant brother.
The memorial service for Merlin will be at 11 a.m. Saturday July 10, 2021, at East St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Rock Dell, with Rev. Paul Thompson officiating. Burial with military graveside honors by the Stewartville American Legion Post 164 will take place in the church cemetery. A time of visitation for family and friends will be at 10 to 11 a.m. at the church on Saturday morning. The family suggests memorials to East Saint Olaf Lutheran Church or the Veterans Administration. Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray F.H. in Stewartville. Condolences and memories of Mike are welcome at www.griffin-gray.com.