Merlyn Stelter was a hardworking, dependable and devoted family man. He was slow to anger and had an admirable sense of humor. His loving presence and tender ways will be dearly missed by his close knit family and friends.
In the same year that Charles Lindbergh completed the first solo flight across the Atlantic, the Great Mississippi Flood, The Jazz Singer opened ending the era of silent movies, and work began on the sculpture of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln carved into Mount Rushmore, Howard William and Calla Fern (nee Loper) Stelter welcomed their newborn son, Merlyn into their hearts on March 26, 1927 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Growing up in the shadow of his older brother Keith, Merlyn worked hard to please his parents. His dad, Howard, worked as a butcher, a postal worker and at Schweitzer’s Hardware. His mother, Fern was a homemaker. Never one to remain out of trouble for too long, he once poked his eye with a button hook and had to get glasses. School, especially spelling, didn’t come easy to Merlyn. He instead liked to use his hands and took a locksmith class.
Known to some of his classmates as, “Porky,” Merlyn was drafted into service during his senior year in high school and he then enlisted in the Army. He received his high school diploma from Central High School in West Allis, while in the army.
He served in France as WWII was coming to an end. He was assigned as a truck driver to transport POW’s. Being a driver meant he had to learn to shoot a gun left-handed. He fondly named his Army jeep “Porky,” and when he was told he couldn’t bring it home after he was discharged, he drove it off a pier! His Army days were not without adventure. Once, he had the brakes fail on a dump truck he was driving while going down a hill. A helpful police officer recognized that Merlyn was in trouble and hurriedly stopped the traffic so no one would get hurt. Luckily, Merlyn steered the truck into a pile of dirt to get it to come to its final stop. He was proud of the time he served, including driving General Patton and was honorably discharged in November of 1946.
After returning from France, Merlyn worked at the Fulton Co before getting married, then he drove dump truck for R W Construction. While doing construction work, he was injured a number of times. Getting hit in the head with a sheeting hook and getting his leg caught between edge of truck and large beam. He ended his working life as a maintenance engineer for the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
In early April of 1951, he met his beloved wife of 64 years, Joyce Taberski on a blind date. They fell so quickly in love that by May they were engaged and joined their hearts in marriage on September 22, 1951. Together, they raised three wonderful children; Michael Howard, Sandra Lorraine, and Garald Mac.
Known for his commitment to his family, Merlyn was always there for his children. Whether it was being involved with scouting, football practices and games, or taking Sandy to the park to play while Joyce went bowling, they were his pride and joy. Always wanting to help out, Merlyn insisted on carrying a chicken that Joyce had prepared for a picnic one year because he didn’t want anyone to drop it. As he approached the picnic blanket with his precious cargo, he dropped the entire chicken into the sand! He enjoyed many family outings, including a special golfing trip to Florida with “the boys” and numerous trips to the beach and to the family cabin up north in Minocqua. Merlyn showed his love for his family by clearing the snow on the hill and lake to allow the grandchildren to go sledding and ice skating on winter visits.
Merlyn lived his life passionately. He enjoyed bowling and even had his nickname, “Porky” sewn on his bowling shirts. He also spent time golfing and woodworking. He made various kinds of furniture over the years including doll houses, jewelry boxes, paint stands and even an impressive hope chest. During his bowling years, he once bowled a 700 series! That same memorable night he let the celebrating get the best of him and caught quite a laughing jag. The rest of the night, everything was funny to him! Even when he safely arrived home, he jumped into bed and broke the frame and laughed himself to sleep! One morning after his bowling night, the family awoke to a mystery. The car was parked sideways in the garage! When he wasn’t bowling or woodworking, he enjoyed watching old Westerns or listening to music. Merlyn was also a first responder at the Bo Di Lac Fire Department. A favorite song of Merlyn’s was “Peg O’ My Heart” by the late Pat Boone.
Not known to be a religious man, Merlyn lived a life that was faithful and kind. Being a good man and doing the right thing was of the utmost importance to him. He was often heard saying, “Any better and it would be right.” He was always willing to help others and came equipped with his witty one liners. In their later years, he and Joyce moved to Jefferson, Wisconsin. Sadly, Merlyn died on April 28, 2016 in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
Merlyn Howard Stelter of Jefferson, WI, died April 28, 2016 at the age of 89 years. Beloved husband of Joyce E. Stelter (nee Taberski). Cherished father of Michael H. (Lyn) Stelter of Germantown, WI, Sandra L (Michael) Polyak of Menomonee Falls, WI and Garald Mac (Dana) Stelter of Milwaukee, WI. Loving grandfather of Curtis (Ashley) Stelter, Jonathan (Allison) Stelter, Jessica Polyak, Pamela Polyak and Melissa Polyak. Step-grandfather of Amy Floryance, Andrew (Michelle) Floryance, Nathan Floryance, and Ashley Almodovar. Great-grandfather of Claire, Jacob Michael, Cameron, Olivia, Madisyn and Maddix. Dear brother of the late Keith (Betty) Stelter. Dear cousin of Winifred (Otis) Fossum. Further survived by other relatives and friends. Merlyn is a retiree of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, a U.S Army veteran and enjoyed woodworking and bowling. Per Merlyn’s wishes a private memorial service will be held. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Merlyn’s name to the Dementia Society of America P.O. Box 600, Doylestown, PA 18901, are appreciated.