Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Merle Irene (Graskamp) Rendahl, age 88, passed away Friday morning, Sept. 11, 2009, at home in Las Vegas with her children close by.
Merle was born on Aug. 13, 1921, the second of three daughters, to Frank and Mabel (Swenson) Graskamp, in Fountain, Minn..
Merle graduated from Preston High School in 1939 and later from Winona State Normal School with a two-year teaching degree.
On April 30, 1944, Merle married Raymond Rendahl. The couple lived in McAllen, Texas; St. Paul; and Ostrander, Minn. before settling down in Austin. By this time, all three of their children (Roy, David, and Ann) had been born. One more move took them to their final family residence in Winona, Minn. Merle was a stay-at-home mother. She was a long-time member of Sons of Norway, and worked as an election judge on election days. She enjoyed baseball, especially the Twins, rummage sales and blackbirds. She was known for giving out homemade bookmarks. Merle never had a bad word to say about anyone and she was cheerful and positive in all situations. She lived out her deep faith in all areas of her life. Merle was always quite involved in the Lutheran church. She made long banners that enhanced the sanctuary, drew large posters for special events, prepared communion as an altar guild worker, sang in the choir, attended every worship service available and participated in women’s circle meetings and other women’s group projects and events.
Merle became a widow shortly after she and Ray celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. She spent one more year in Winona, the next seven years in Clovis, Calif., and her final six years in Las Vegas.
Merle was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; and two sisters, Donna Rustad and Helen Dunbar.
Merle is survived by her three children: Roy Rendahl of Las Vegas, Dave Rendahl of Visalia, Calif., and Ann Aakre of Selma, Calif. She is also survived by two grandsons, Ryan Rendahl and Matthew Rendahl of Visalia, Calif. Her cat, Sparkle, is missing her as well.
Two services will honor the life of Merle. A memorial service will be held at Reformation Lutheran Church in Las Vegas at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 25. A Funeral Service will be held at Central Lutheran Church in Winona, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26 with Pastor Jeff Franko officiating. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Winona.
The family suggests that memorials in Merle’s name be made to Reformation Lutheran Church, 580 E. St. Louis Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89104, or to the giver’s local S.P.C.A.
Services entrusted to Fawcett-Junker Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Winona. Words of sympathy or remembrance may be left at www.fawcett-junkerfuneralhome.com.