October 24, 1913 ~ September 7, 2014
Merle died peacefully on Sunday, September 7, 2014 at Bethany Retirement Living in Fargo, surrounded by her loving family.
Merle Ecker was born on October 24, 1913, the daughter of Maurice and Mabel (Parker) Ecker, near Grandin, ND. She grew up in this area and received her education. Merle also attended college at Moorhead State Teacher College and North Dakota Agriculture College in Fargo. Following her graduation she taught school in Georgetown, MN and Long Creek in Divide County, ND where she met her future husband. Merle was united in marriage to Harold Stokke on September 17, 1939 at the Grandin Presbyterian Church. They made their home near Grandin, becoming a part of the farm community for over 70 years and raised their family.
Merle was a lifelong member of Grandin Presbyterian Church. She was active at her church throughout the years serving as organist, choir accompanist, teaching Sunday school, Bible school, serving as an elder, and was very active in the UPW organization and women’s quilting group. Merle was awarded the Honorary Life Membership, conferred in recognition of the faithful service to Presbyterian Church USA.
Her family will remember her as a loving and wonderful mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. Merle took great joy in spending time with all of her family, sharing her excellent cooking and baking. She believed in the importance of education, supporting nursing education scholarships at Jamestown and Concordia Colleges. She also loved her time on the farm in her gardens, and in later years, traveling with her husband.
Merle lived on the farm until age 96. She moved to Waterford in Fargo in 2010 and enjoyed her time there with old and new friends and spending time with her sister in law, Verna Ecker.
Merle is survived by her children, Allan (Cindy) Stokke of Newport Beach, CA; Marlin Stokke of Grandin; Carole (David) Johnston of Fargo; and Bev (Frank) Salomonsen of Rochester, MN; 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Also surviving are her special nieces and nephews, and many other very dear relatives. Her husband, Harold, and her siblings - Dean and Robert Ecker, preceded her in death.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Hospice of the Red River Valley, the Grandin Presbyterian Church, or the Grandin Community Cemetery and World Vision.
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