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Merle McMorrow

April 22, 1923 - December 13, 2018

Gathering of family and friends

January 16, 2019
1:00 - 3:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center


Boulger Funeral Home

Merle McMorrow

April 22, 1923 - December 13, 2018


Merle W. McMorrow died at age 95 on December 13, 2018 after living a rich and full life.

An open house celebration of life will take place on January 16, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center in Fargo, ND. Burial with military honors will be held at a later date at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan, ND.

Merle was born on April 22, 1923 in Hankinson, ND to Robert and Clara (Kath) McMorrow. He graduated from high school in Breckenridge, MN. After working with the Wilkin County Highway Department and the Puget Sound Navy Yard (Bremerton, WA) Merle enlisted with the U.S. Army Paratroops during WWII. His foreign service included action in Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany prior to his discharge on December 22, 1945.

Merle married Kathryn (Kay) Jonietz in Los Angeles, CA on June 12, 1946. They returned to Fargo where Merle enrolled and graduated from North Dakota Agricultural College (NDSU) with a Civil Engineering degree. In 1949 they moved to Bismarck where Merle joined the Bureau of Reclamation, retiring in 1980. Merle and Kay raised their family in Bismarck. Kay died in 1996. Merle was married to Margaret Chapman from 2000 until her death in 2014.

Merle was a member of the United States Committee of the International Commission on Large Dams. He was also a member of the United States Committee on Irrigation, Drainage and Flood Control of the International Commission on Large Dams. He was a member of the Bismarck Lions, Kiwanis, VFW and the BPOE and was on the Board of Directors of the Capital Credit Union. He was the national president of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team and the state president of the ND Chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.

Merle is survived by his two sons, Thomas (Patricia McCullough), Loretto, MN and Mark (Diane), Fargo; one brother Robert, Fargo; three sisters, Betty Petron (Don), The Villages of FL, Judy Azure, Fargo, and JoAnn Haddock, OR, and by numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Kathryn, his second wife Margaret, brothers Kenneth and Darrell and sister Mavis.


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8 responses to “Merle McMorrow”

  1. Lee and Ruby Jackson says:

    Merle’s Family,

    Our sincere sympathy to you all. I worked with Merle at the Bureau of Reclamation for many years, He was a great guy, fun to work with. He accomplished so much – books he wrote, etc. He lived a good and long life.

  2. Barbara Wrolstad says:

    Merle was a great man and will be missed. I loved all our credit union visits.
    He loved talking about his boys and hearing about my family. He was a kind and caring man. He would call me every year on my birthday. My sympathy to your family.

  3. Jack McDonald says:

    I met Merle many times when he worked with my Dad – Jack McDonald – at the Bureau of Reclamation in Bismarck. What a fine man he was, and a good friend with my Dad. So sorry for you loss.

  4. Suzette A. Kath says:

    I remember a very little about Cousin Merle. Barely from the Kath family reunions. And at Mavis’s home after her funeral. My dad was his Uncle Bobby. I learned more about his life in his books, than what I overheard my dad’s side when they talked about various Kath family members.

  5. VANDENHOUTE Armand says:

    Merle was a friend. It is with great sadness that I have just learned of his death. I will never forget his kindness and all that he and his fellow soldiers have done to liberate my country (France). R I P Vandenhoute Armand

  6. Christine Gauthier Mace says:

    My sincere condolences on Mac’s death. I never met Mac but through my Dad (CAMERON J Gauthier) I felt like I knew him. They were in the WWII paratroopers together and would often talk on the phone …we could hear laughing…at least on Dad’s end. Dad always felt great after the phone calls. I recall a story about Mac giving Cameron a letter telling Kay when he was coming back and for her to meet him…however my Dad kept it in his pocket …forgotten…on his leave and it was still in his pocket upon his return…Mac was a little upset about that one!
    I spoke to Mac on the phone several years ago and he had such nice remembrances about their time in the paratroopers. Quite a lifelong bond. They saw each other at reunions and I know Dad enjoyed seeing Mac in person and the “letter” for Kay always came up.
    It was nice that Mac had a good long life. I know one of the times we talked he was going to an assisted living place and was not sure about that.
    Christine Gauthier Mace

  7. Coach Arly Ohm says:

    Merle’s life was truly remarkable! He was a such a positive influence on our Breckenridge Boys Basketball Teams as we were saddened by the news. Our players thought it was neat to listen to his 1940 state championship stories. Merle was a legend in our community and he lived life to the fullest! Great man who will be missed.

  8. Neil Sussenguth says:

    Merle never forgot his hometown, Breckenridge. He helped lead his team to win the State Basketball Championship in 1940 and gave his tournament uniform back to the school. He wrote a book about growing up in Breckenridge. He spent many years taking tickets a NDSU Bison Basketball games. I talked to him last August while attending the Breckenridge All-School Reunion. Merle remained mentally sharp and witty. He will be missed by many….despite being 95 years of age.

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