James L. Merchen, 81, passed away on Friday, June 4, 2021, at his home south of Norris.
A visitation will be held Wednesday June 9, from 5-7 p.m. at the funeral home in Martin. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 10 at the American Legion Hall on Highway 18 in Martin. Inurnment will be at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis at 2:30 p.m.
Jim was born on July 19, 1939, to James Edward and Margaret Ellen (Gibson) Merchen in Vetal. He was the fourth of nine children. He attended country school through the eighth grade. Afterwards, he worked for local farmers in the area.
In 1958, he moved to Pierre and went to work on the Oahe Dam as a concrete finisher. On November 3, 1962, he married Luella Heckenlaible in Highmore and they had one child. They divorced many years later.
He was drafted into the Army on February 1963 and spent most of the next two years in Munich, Germany. He returned to the states in February 1965 and worked at Mueller Feeds in Martin for some time until they moved to Deadwood where he was employed at the Homestake Mine. He worked there from 1966 until he retired in 1999.
After retirement, he returned to the family farm to manage it for his mother, later purchasing it from her along with his brother Clayton as partners.
He is survived by his daughter, Sherry (Chris) Aldridge, Rapid City; 3 grandchildren, Wade and Clint Leatherman, Sturgis and Whitney (Michael) Zylstra, White; and three great grandchildren; four brothers Lynn (Audrey), Newcastle, Wyo.; Clayton, Norris; Ralph (Susan), Custer; Lawrence, Sturgis; and 2 sisters Margaret Pike and Kathy Merchen, Denver, Colo.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Frank, sister Florence, infant brother Eldon, and sisters-in-law Sheila Merchen and Jean Merchen.
Bennett County Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.