Eleanor L. Merkle
Beloved Wife, Mother, and Grandmother
On Monday morning, April 4, 2016, Eleanor L. Merkle went to rest in the loving arms of Jesus. At age 92, Eleanor passed away peacefully at Jacksonville Home Care. She was born Eleanor Lucille Sparks March 25, 1924 to Eber and Iva Sparks in Bigstone City, S.D.
Eleanor later moved with her family to Redwood Falls, Minn. She played on the women’s basketball team at Mankato State Teachers College (now Minnesota State University, Mankato).
In 1940, Eleanor met the love of her life, Jack Merkle. They married August 19, 1944, in Rock Springs, Wyo. Jack’s forestry career necessitated several moves, with the family finally settling down in Medford, Ore. in 1962. While Jack served our country as a United States Marine, Eleanor steadfastly and tirelessly raised their family, providing guidance for their children. Later, she continued her role as homemaker, also volunteering for the County Extension Service, church functions, and community fundraising. Family activities included hiking, camping, and water skiing.
One of Eleanor’s most frequent sayings was, “Be considerate to everyone.” She was a role model herself for being considerate, loving, and non-judgmental. She was a beauty, with her platinum hair and smooth skin; her smile lit up entire rooms.
When Jack retired from the BLM in 1982, they enjoyed many trips together in their VW camper, a 5th-wheel trailer, and many Raindance Tours. Eleanor and Jack would even take motorcycle trips on their BMW!
After suffering a stroke in 2004, Eleanor still retained her loving demeanor, even though she could no longer play cards, do the family budget, cook, or many other things that most people take for granted. Throughout Eleanor’s illness, Jack provided loving care and support. In 2011, Jack and Eleanor moved from their east Medford home of fifty years, to Pioneer Village in Jacksonville. There, they made new friends, and were even voted King and Queen for Valentine’s Day, two years in a row!
Eleanor is survived by her devoted husband, Jack; sister, Betty; daughter, Sharon (Don); son, Chris (Yvonne); grandchildren, Seth, Dustin, Jordan, and Danya; and her great-grandson, Finn. She will be sorely missed by her family and all her friends.
Eleanor’s family is grateful to the staff and residents of Pioneer Village; Victoria, Rebecca, and the staff at Jacksonville Home Care; and Asante Hospice for all the loving care they provided.
A memorial service for Eleanor will be held at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, April 30, 2016, in Building B Bistro, Pioneer Village, Jacksonville, Ore.
Memorial contributions may be made in Eleanor’s name to Dunn House, the Alzheimer’s Association, or the Medford Gospel Mission.