Sheila Rae (Parker) Merchen was born March 25, to Gordon and Olive (Cellan) Parker. She grew up on a farm west of Highmore. She went to Eagle country school till 1954 when they moved to town.
Sheila and her sisters were all very good singers, they won the snow queen talent show and advanced on to competition in Huron. Sheila and her sisters also sang on Keloland tv for a telethon. She graduated from Highmore high school in 1961. Sheila then moved to Pierre and went to work at the state library.
She met Clayton at a dance in Holabird, S.D. in the summer of 62 while he was working on the Oahe, and Fort Thompson dam. They were married on December 15, 1963, in Highmore. They moved to Brownlee, Neb. where Clayton worked on a ranch. In the spring of 64’ they moved to Martin, where they lived for about two years then they moved to Sturgis and then on to Whitewood, until 1972. They moved back to Bennett County by Norris, so that Clayton could help on the family ranch.
Sheila started driving school bus for the Bennett Coutny schools in the fall of 1979, and drove that same route till 1986, when she started work at the kitchen at the grade school in Martin. Sheila worked there till 2003, when she decided to stay home and take care of her grandchildren. Her greatest love besides her husband was all of her kids, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Sheila had a great love for music that she passed on to her kids. Rodeos, ballgames, music contests, you name it she was there!
Sheila passed away at her home on March 25, 2018. She will be greatly missed by her husband, Clayton; sisters Shirley (Lawerence) Lynch, Sharon Abernathy, and Mary (John) Weidenbach. Brother Michael Parker. Son Laverl (Mison) Merchen, daughters Theresa Ortiz, Tracey Merchen, and Mary (Leo) Goss. Nine grandchildren, Kyle and Cody Merchen, Melissa (Mark) Cuff, Luz (Josh) Flockhart, Antonio Ortiz, Kimberlee Schulz, Tanner (Sadie) Goss, Tyler Goss, and Piper Goss. And seven great-grandchildren, Cinch and Parker Goss, Cole Cotton, Mark and Maddison Cuff, and Will and Cypress Flockhart.
Funeral Services were held Friday March 30, at 10:00 a.m. at the New American Legion in Martin. Burial was held in the Calvary Fairview Cemetery in Kadoka. A memorial has been established and donations may be sent in care of Bennett County Funeral Service PO Box 65 Martin, SD 57551.