Merlin Henry Rathman, age 94, of Wood River, Nebraska died Thursday, January 3, 2019 at Good Samaritan Village in Grand Island with family by his side.
Services will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at First United Methodist Church, Wood River, with the Rev. Trudy Hanke and Pastor Darrel Holzinger officiating. Burial will be in Wood River Cemetery, Wood River. Visitation hours will be 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at the church. Memorials are suggested to Wood River Foundation and the First United Methodist Church in Wood River. Apfel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Merlin was born September 24, 1924 at a farm home south of Alda to Herman and Mamie (Seier) Rathman. He received his education from Rural School District #12 by Alda, District #44, District # 63 by Wood River and Wood River High School. He served in the United States Army during World War II from 1945-1946 in the 163rd Infantry Regiment. He arrived at Manila Bay, Philippines on V-Day and served as Staff Sergeant for the Supply Division in Korea for one year.
On December 24, 1949 he was united in marriage to Maxine D. Finck at the Methodist Church in Grand Island, Nebraska. They recently celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary. The couple made their home on a farm NE of Wood River their entire life where they raised five children. Merlin produced corn, wheat, soybeans and cattle during his lifetime.
Merlin was a member of the Wood River American Legion, The Platt-Duetsche Society, Liederkranz, Eagles, The First United Methodist Church, Wood River Country Club, and Lochland Country Club. He served on the Wood River Rural Fire Board 30 years. His interests and activities included: playing baseball at Wood River, Alda and Bluff Center, golfing (making 2 holes-in-one at Lochland and golfed his age numerous times), hunting, fishing, pool, horseshoes, traveling, breakfast at the round table,playing numerous card games and he also loved dancing and listening to polkas (especially Molly B). He was an avid fan of Wood River Rural High School activities.
Left to cherish his memories are his wife, Maxine; children: Sherryl (Greg) Gannon of Wood River, Lynette (Gerald) Koelzer of Wood River, Jolene (Bruce) Bergman of Leavenworth, Kansas, LuCinda (Robert) Ostransky of LaRue, Texas, and Doyle (Carrie) Rathman of Wood River. Grandchildren/Great Grandchildren: Ryan & Shanna Gannon of Shelton, NE (Elizabeth, Grant, Ben and Riley); Andrea & Kevin Johnson of Kearney, NE (Allie, Kaitlyn, Lauren and Kasey); Tyler Gannon of Wood River, NE; Kirby & Sunny Koch of Avon, CO; Kris & Anne Koelzer of O’Neill, NE (John); Lindsey & Reid Stephens of Ridgecrest, CA (Trinity, Charity and Faith); Ashley & Trey Ragno of Accra, Ghana in Africa (Anthony, Ariana and Avery); Kimberly & Brian Kuhl of Lincoln, NE (Emmet, Callahan and Lennox); John & Ann Ostransky of Lincoln, NE (Shane and Lena); Steve Ostransky of Lincoln, NE (Mack); Kelsey & Adam Maas of Blair, NE; Hannah Rathman of Kansas City, MO; Trey Rathman of Wood River, NE; Aubrey Niemoth of Omaha, NE.
He shared his love with his siblings: brothers - Elton Rathman of Grand Island, NE; Delbert (Jan) Rathman of Wood River, NE; sisters - Eunetta Schoneberg of Grand Island, NE and Emogene Veeder of Hot Springs Village, AR; Sister-in-law Janice Rathman-Powell of Grand Island, NE; Brother-in-law Lester Harvey Finck of Grand Island, NE; and numerous nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Mamie (Seier) Rathman; brother, Jerome Rathman; infant sister, LaVonne Rathman; sisters-in-law, Vera Rathman and Sally Finck; Brothers-in-law, Robert Veeder and Ben Schoneberg; son-in-law, Larry Koch.
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