James Alton Merritt, 73, Austin

Published 10:36 am Monday, November 12, 2012

James Alton Merritt, 73, went to our lord and savior on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. His 3 1/2 year battle with lung cancer has ended. His wife and two sons were by his side at their home in Austin, Minn.

James A. Merritt

James was born April 3, 1939, in Austin, the son of Howard A. Merritt and Mary (McGee) Merritt. He attended Elkton High School and Austin Pacelli High School where he graduated in 1957. He also attended Mankato State University. He was united in marriage to Diane (Hall) Merritt on July 21, 1962, and this past July, they celebrated 50 years together. They were truly blessed with two wonderful sons, Jason and Christopher.

Jim was office manager at Smith-Douglas in Albert Lea, Minn., owner and operator of Jim’s Marina in Albert Lea, operations manager at LCL in Austin, and operations manager at McFarland’s in Austin until he retired. Jim was passionate about his Catholic faith and was a lifelong member of St. Augustine Church in Austin. He was also a member of the Moose Club, Eagles and VFW. He enjoyed golfing with his friends and family. He especially enjoyed fishing with his wife and two sons, in an attempt to hook the elusive “Willie the Walleye” at their cabin on Leech Lake.

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Jim was a very social person and made friends wherever he went. He kept people on their toes as one never knew what to expect; especially with his nieces and nephews. He was a great cook and was known by the family for his famous pepper fried chicken and proprietary orange cookies. Jim was a caring husband to his wife, Diane. He was extremely proud of his sons, Jason and Chris. He was also a big brother to his sisters and brother. In addition to his family, Jim was loved by many longtime friends, past co-workers and golfing buddies.

Surviving are his wife, Diane; sons, Jason James Merritt, Minneapolis and Christopher John Merritt, Chaska, Minn; sisters Mary Renchin, Austin, Patricia (Sonny) Forschen, Anoka, Minn.; brother Terry (Nancy) Grunwaldt, Austin; sister-in-law Linda L. Wehner, Austin; and brother-in-law Donald Anderson, Elkton, Minn.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Howard A. Merritt and Mary Margaret Merritt; sister C. Suzann (Sue) (Merritt) Anderson; brother in law Dale Renchin; nephew Chad Forschen; and grandmother Alice T. McGee.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, at St. Augustine Church with Father Thomas Loomis officiating. Visitation will be held at Clasen-Jordan Mortuary, 209 Second Ave. NW, Austin on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. with a rosary service at 4 p.m. Visitation will also be for one hour before the service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.