Merle E. James, age 85, of Mankato, died on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at Pathstone Living surrounded by his family. A funeral service will be held on Friday, March 27 at 10:30 a.m. at Crossview Covenant Church (at the former location) at 354 Carol Ct. in North Mankato. Visitation will be on Thursday, March 26 from 4-8 p.m. with a 7:30 p.m. prayer service at Mankato Mortuary. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to the service on Friday at the church. Burial will be at Immaculate Conception Cemetery in St. Clair.
Merle was born on April 1, 1923 in Elysian to Orville and Carrie (Simons) James. He attended Elysian Country Schools. On June 16, 1953, he was united in marriage to Elaine Martha Wenner. Merle was a member of the Local 49er's and the International Union of Operating Engineers. He was a heavy equipment operator and worked on road construction projects in the five-state area and also many construction projects in Cambodia, Somalia, Liberia, Kenya, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. He loved farming, working on cars, painting, and he was also a bee keeper. Merle's biggest joy in life was his family.
Merle is survived by his three daughters: Mona (Randy) Will of Janesville, MN, Mary James-Neher (Rodney) of Janesville, WI, and Gloria Winter of North Mankato; grandchildren: Jamie (Sara) Will, Kristin (Mike) Pierson, Brian Will, Ben Neher, Ike Neher, Joel Neher, Kathryn Block, Robyn Block, Aryn (Abby) Block, Barry Winter, Sara Winter; great-granddaughter, Aubrey Will; two sisters, Leora (Howard) Anderson of Waterville, MN and Audrey Kopischke of Janesville, MN; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Elaine; grandson, Dan Block; and sibilings: Don James, Mahlon James, and Keith James.