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Jerry Merchant

November 18, 1922 January 23, 2009
Jerry Merchant
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Obituary for Jerry Merchant

Jerry Merchant, age 86, died peacefully at the Vinton Lutheran Home on Friday, January 23, 2009, following a lengthy illness.    
    Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Vinton with Rev. David Ambrosy as celebrant.   Private family burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery.  Visitation at Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 27, with a Scripture Service at 7 p.m. led by Sr. Mary Hargrafen.  There will also be visitation an hour before mass at the church on Wednesday.   
    Patrick Gerald “Jerry” Merchant was born November 18, 1922 on a farm south of Garrison, Iowa, to James Edward and Nora Stritch Merchant.  He attended school in Garrison and on April 14, 1947 he married Arlene Kosnar at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Vinton.  His life’s path took him from farming in Dysart to the hog buying business in La Porte City to a bowling center proprietor in Greenfield (he even bowled with professionals in Des Moines) to commercial real estate brokerage throughout the Midwest.  Jerry and Arlene lived the last 46 years in Vinton.   
    Jerry led a life looking at the stars and dreaming of flying.  He got his pilot’s license at an early age and spent his entire life flying and building airplanes.  He was a longtime member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and belonged to many civic organizations and he was especially involved with the Vinton Airport Commission.  He was honored to have been elected to the Quiet Birdmen Association, an elite pilot’s organization.   
    Throughout his life, Jerry shared his love of music and dance with his wife, Arlene, whom he met when they played accordians for an anniversary dance in Garrison.  The two of them will be fondly remembered as a couple who “glided across the dance floor as if on glass.”  Even with a life full of many careers, he especially enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren.   
    With the onset of major health problems over the past 4 ½ years, Jerry was able to stay comfortable at home until December with the help of his family, Leaping Rescue Health Services, Dr. Brian Meeker, and numerous friends and relatives.   
    Jerry is survived by his wife of 62 years, Arlene, Vinton; four children, Pat (Larry) Dawson, Marion, IA, Penny (Scott) Olson, Cedar Rapids, IA, Eddie Merchant, Vinton, IA, Paula (Ron) Olsen, Cedar Falls, IA; five grandchildren, Jennifer (Jason) Arndt, Chicago, IL, Scott (Trisha) Olson II, Cedar Rapids, Jill Olson, Chicago, IL, Logan Olsen, Chariton, IA, Casey Olsen, Iowa City, IA; great granddaughter, Brianna Olson, Cedar Rapids, IA; and two sisters, Mary (Norm) Walker, Vinton, IA, and Winifred (Vic) Landuyt, Blairstown, IA.    
    He was preceded in death by his parents and twelve brothers and sisters.    
    A memorial fund has been established.


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