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Merlin W. Unruh

November 17, 1943 ~ September 27, 2018 (age 74)

Merlin W. Unruh was born November 17, 1943 at Joslin Hospital in Harper, KS to Irven and Esther (Ramer) Unruh. He passed away September 27, 2018 in Merced, California.  Merlin graduated from Harper High School, Hesston College, and Goshen College. After meeting and marrying Vesta (Thomas) in La Junta, Colorado in 1973, they returned to southern Kansas where they started their family welcoming a daughter Vanessa (Unruh) Mininger, and Kirk Unruh.  Merlin worked for Dewey Manufacturing in Harper before dedicating 35 years of his life to farming and related agri-business. Merlin became a member of the Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in 1958 and a member of Greeley Mennonite Church in 2002.  He has attended Atwater First Church of God since 2012.

Merlin was preceded in life by his parents, and infant brother, David, twin brother Marlin, as well as a granddaughter, Emmalee.

His survivors include wife Vesta, daughter Vanessa and her husband Nolan of Atwater, CA; son Kirk and wife Tabitha of Atwater, CA; sister Shirley Kraun and husband Ben of Peoria, IL; sister Judy Houtz of Goshen, IN; and grandchildren Brooklyn, Delaney, Kinley, Ash, Elizabeth and Timaeus.  

He will be missed greatly and will be remembered as a loving papa, husband, father, brother, uncle, and friend.  Merlin enjoyed drinking coffee with his friends at the donut shop and discussing farming, current events and KU basketball.  Those who knew and loved him would tell you he was a man of few words, but when he spoke, you should listen because it was going to be important.  He was a gentle giant who gave the worlds best hugs, according to his grandkids.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct 6 at Atwater First Church of God in Atwater, California with a luncheon held afterwards.  A Celebration of Life is being planned for 10am on November 17 at Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in Harper, Kansas with donuts and coffee starting at 9am.  A private family interment will take place after.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given in memory of Merlin Unruh to Stone Ridge Christian to provide tuition assistance to local families wanting a Christian education for their children by calling 209-386-0322  or to Good News Foundation International to support an organization important to Merlin that is currently working in Haiti to build an irrigation infrastructure for Haitian farmers via  

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