Farm Animals 17

Merlen Ray Schnakenberg

March 29, 1937 ~ June 2, 2022 (age 85)

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Obit Merlen Ray Schnakenberg-85 of Deshler, NE

Kroll Funeral Home Of Deshler, NE 402-365-4441


Merlen Ray Schnakenberg, son of George and Edna (Getz) Schnakenberg was born March 29, 1937 in Sedan, Nuckolls County, NE. He was the fifth of eight children to this marriage, with only a sister and two brothers entering life and establishing the family. He was baptized on April 11th, 1937 by Pastor L. Ernst and confirmed on March 18th, 1951 by Pastor C.G. Stockamp at St. Peters Lutheran Church in Davenport, NE. Merlen departed this life on Thursday June 2, 2022 at the age of 85 years, 2 months and 3 days.

Merlen grew up in Sedan NE, attending and graduating K-8th school from St. Peters Lutheran Church and then graduating from Davenport High School in the class of 1955. Upon graduating, Merlen enlisted into the military but a knee complication denied his admission. He worked for various farmers in the area, drove truck hauling cattle to Omaha and St. Joseph stockyards, and Bergt Bros. Sand & Gravel Company.

On October 21, 1962, Merlen was united in marriage with Rosemary (Elvers) Bartling and became a family with her three children; Nicky (’58), Daniel (’59) and Kristine Bartling (’61). To this marriage, four more children eventually were added to the family: Shelly (’63), Jodi (’65), Jani (’66) and Jamie (’72). In 1964, Merlen and Rose moved their growing family from Deshler to the Getz family farm north of Deshler. Merlen was a farmer and a livestock producer handling daily operations of the feedlot, maintaining the facility and equipment, irrigation of the crops, chopping sileage, harvesting crops and other numerous farm tasks that arose daily. The entire family engaged in this way of life and Merlen was devoted to the Schnakenberg Brothers business. Then in 1978, the family relocated to the Othling farm south of Deshler and Merlen started working for Ray Mausoleum Co. in Deshler. He retired from his small farming operation in 1995 after suffering a health issue and was employed over 30 years with Ray Mausoleum Co and later, Mausoleums by Reinke in Hebron, until he fully retired. Merlen and Rose, in 2007 purchased their first acreage, the Achterberg farm, northeast of Deshler and resided there until Merlen moved into Deshler in April 2021.

Retirement was full of trips to watch his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. He enjoyed road trips, being the narrator for who lived there or what was relevant about the location. Many stories about his youthful years were told involving the train that he rode to and from school in Davenport. He recalled the blizzard of 1949 and not losing a single chick when the chicken brooder house was completely buried under snow. In high school he participated in track, played basketball and excelled in football and was proud that Davenport beat Deshler his senior season. Trips to visit family in Missouri, occasional family vacations and camping trips that started with the kids in the 1960s continued his entire life, creating memories forever remembered. Merlen and Rose didn’t have an empty calendar with their children’s school events spanning from 1964-1990. And this devotion to their family continued with their grandchildren’s events. While Saturdays were all about Husker football for Rose, Merlen was as an avid Husker volleyball fan! Many frantic phone calls were received to find the correct TV channel and they usually didn’t last much longer after that. If he didn’t have that channel, he was off to Nick or Jani’s house to watch it, regardless if it started at 9PM! He did attend a game in person and loved his Husker volleyball. And he noticed how large and sophisticated farm equipment had become, was concerned about unchecked pivot irrigation for water runoff and always asked about the grass in the pasture for the cows. Merlen was a farmer and a livestock producer.

Merlen was preceded in death by his parents George and Edna. Rose, his wife, of 53 years. Sister Leela Mae Crockett and husband David. Sisters-in-law; JoAnn Schnakenberg and Elvira Schnakenberg. Grandson Taylor Bartling. Nephew David “Dick” Crockett and nieces: Linda (Crockett) Faulk, Michelle (Schnakenberg) Hale and Terrie (Anderson) Pester.

He is survived by his three sons: Nicky Bartling of Deshler, NE; Daniel Bartling and wife Jill of Aurora, NE; and Jamie Schnakenberg and wife Kim of Wahoo, NE. Four daughters: Kristine Ellingson and husband Mike of Crete, NE; Shelly Schnakenberg of Phillips, NE; Jodi Else and husband Bob of Belvidere, NE; Jani Cottam and husband Kevin of Hebron, NE. Fourteen grandchildren: Natasha Ellingson of Crete; Sarah and Jon Zarnick of Lincoln; Eric Ellingson of Springfield; Jessie and Josh McBride of Maxwell; Trevor and Stephanie Bartling of Omaha; Pierce and June Bartling of China; Seth Schnakenberg of Omaha; Spenser and Jessica Else of Belvidere; Ethan Hudson of Newman Grove; Sydney Cottam of Hebron; Cambrie Cottam and special friend Zerron of Kearney; Josie Schnakenberg and finance, Tanner of Omaha; Jaclyn Schnakenberg of Omaha, Jonas Schnakenberg of Wahoo and ten great-grandchildren. Two brothers: Harlan Schnakenberg of Deshler; and Larry Schnakenberg and wife Grace of Tucson, AZ. In-laws: Berta Lomax and husband Wayne of Crete; Roger Elvers and wife Debbie Jo of Auburn, CA; Don Elvers and finance Terri of Wichita, KS. He was Uncle Mert to many.

Following Mert’s wishes, he was cremated and a memorial service will be held 10:30 AM Friday, June 10, 2022. Officiant will be Pastor Brian Francik, organist Anita Harms, congregational hymns “Here I Am Lord”, “Precious Lord Take My Hand” and recorded selection “Hymn Of Heaven” by Phil Wickham. Book signing will be Thursday, June 9, 2022 at Kroll Funeral Home in Deshler, NE 3-7PM with family greeting friends 5-7PM. Honorary casket bearers will be the grandchildren. Condolences may be left at Private family inurnment. Kroll Funeral Home of Deshler, NE is in charge of arrangements.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Merlen

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book signing
June 9, 2022

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Kroll Funeral Home-Deshler
419 Fourth St.
Deshler, NE 68340

Gathering of Family and Friends
June 9, 2022

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Kroll Funeral Home-Deshler
419 Fourth St.
Deshler, NE 68340

Memorial Service
June 10, 2022

10:30 AM
St. Peter Lutheran Church-Deshler
400 E Hebron St.
Deshler, NE 68340

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