Merle L. WirtanenMerle L. Wirtanen, 83, of Sandstone, Minn.
Merle L. Wirtanen, 83, of Sandstone, Minn., formerly of Plymouth, died Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013.
Merle was born on April 18, 1930 in Wolf Lake, Minn., where he grew up until moving to Duluth.
He joined the U.S. Air Force, and was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska. Following his discharge from USAF, he drove home to Duluth via the Alaska Alcan Highway on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. There he met and married Lorraine Olson. They later moved to the Twin City area where Merle was a talented home building contractor until he retired. His passion however was learning to fly, and he subsequently purchased his own Cessna Skyhawk airplane, which brought him many years of pleasure, including several cross-country trips.
Preceded in death by sister Joyce Pearson of Indio, Calif., and parents Heino and Lydia.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lorraine; daughter Sharon (Ted) Kepler; sister Doris Schurrer; a brother John; and several brother/sisters-in-law; nephews and nieces.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: will be held at a later date, with inurnment at Park Hill Cemetery, Duluth. In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Merle’s name to the American Lung Association. www.methvenfuneralhome.com