I died as I wanted with my wife, my children and my grandchildren beside me. Even a Marine loses this battle and I close my eyes in peace and quiet comfort.
I was born in 1935. I was the oldest son of Marvin and Mari Gale Hanson. Like so many, my parents and grandparents were poor having lost what they had in the 30ís. We believed through hard, honest work that a man and his family could feel good about themselves. I carry that with me as I take my last breath and look forward to seeing those that left before me.
I married Suzanne Ives in 1958. She was the prettiest woman I ever laid my eyes upon and I thank her for a wonderful fifty- five years of marriage. We were blessed with four children; Merle (Cheryl Utecht) of Winona, Jo Dee (Scott Hanson) of Stewartville, Mari (Tim Maroushek) of Red Wing and Jeff (Leah Gernander) of Little Falls and eleven grandchildren. I am also survived by a sister, Glenadine Wicka, of Bull Head City, Ariz. My two brothers, Norville and Cletus, died before me.
Those children and grandchildren caused me to scratch my head more than a few times but my heart bounced a bit every time I saw them. They kept hope alive in an old manís heart and Iíll be there when they remember what matters. I loved watching baseball no matter the team but I most enjoyed watching my children and grandchildren play the games they liked best. Sometimes the sound of a ball mitt or a kid yelling on a dry dusty ball field brought me back to my youth. I thank my kids and grandkids for helping me remember.
My fondest memories were of my grandpa. We could listen to grandpa all day and he had this old gold spittoon that always seemed to catch what he was spitting. He was forever playing jokes to get me to laugh. Grandma and Grandpa were fine people and I remember the dark day my Grandpa said goodbye.
When he left, I felt something not right. I was hurting but I could feel a spirit rising and filling me with energy and emotion like I never felt before. He made me stronger with the spirit that was his. He was a good man.
Most of what we got are the memories of a life lived. You have all made this white haired old man a very proud one. I never much cried but on the inside I had tears of joy oozing from my heart.
I am a patient man and I can wait a long time. When we see each other again I want you to tell me of your children and grandchildren. Tell me about the fish that got away and the places you visited and saw. Tell me about living and loving and dying and dreaming.
Iím going to miss you all something terrible and Iím hoping you find something that makes you remember me. I need good people to keep my memory alive and my family is the best.
A funeral Mass will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, October 26, at St. Maryís Catholic Church in Winona, with the Reverend James Berning officiating. Burial of Merlynís cremated body will follow in St. Maryís Cemetery in Winona, with the Winona American Legion conducting military graveside honors. Friends may come to visit with family beginning at 9 a.m. at St. Maryís Church. A reception will follow services at the church.
Memories may be shared online and a tribute video may be viewed when it becomes available at www.hofffuneral.com.
Hoff Celebration of Life Center of Goodview is assisting with arrangements.