Of White Bear Lake On March 3, Merle lost his battle with Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Preceded in death by father Ted, mother Grace, and sister Marlys. Survived by Carol, wife of 54 years, brother Jim (Lois), sons Brian and Mike (Monica), and grandchildren Emmalyn, Isaac and Eva. Merle earned a BA in Music Ed from Bethel University and a MA in Music Ed from the University of St. Thomas. He influenced countless musicians during his 38 years as band director at St. Joseph's School, 27 years as a trombonist in the 451st Army Reserve Band, and 17 years as director of the Shoreview Northern Lights Variety Band. He was also a freelance trombone player with the KC Gospel Orchestra, Classic Brass Inc., and Encore Wind Ensemble. Merle was renowned for his love of cars, boating, water-skiing and fishing. Most importantly, Merle's strong faith in God was pivotal in carrying him through his last days.