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Merlin Carlson

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October 8, 1936 - November 12, 2021


Merlin Carlson, age 85, passed away on Nov. 12, 2021. He was born Oct. 8, 1936, to John and Beda Carlson of Swea City.

Funeral services for Merlin will be held at 2 p.m., Nov. 20, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Swea City with Pastor Seth Campbell officiating. Burial will be in Harrison Township Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 12  until 2 p.m. prior to the service at the church on Saturday.

Merlin was baptized on July 6, 1937, and confirmed May of 1951, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Swea City. He graduated from Swea City High School in May 1954. He then officially started farming with his father, John, on the home farm that was homesteaded by his grandfather.

Merlin married Doris Elaine Ditsworth on Feb. 1, 1970, along with her three children, Steve, Deanne and Kim, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Swea City. They were married for almost 37 years when Doris passed away from cancer in Nov. of 2006.

Merlin and Doris started their annual trek to the W & I Resort Park in Mission, Texas, in Jan. of 1980, marking 40 years of being a winter Texan.

In his early years, he loved to hunt, trap shoot (winning many competitions), fish, snowmobile and play cards. He served in the National Guard from 1963 to 1965, training at Camp Ripley in Minn. He also served on the Church Board of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Swea City.

Merlin met Arl Brooks at Fiesta Village in Mission, Texas, on Feb. 2, 2010. They were married Feb. 5, 2011, at Our Savior Lutheran Church, McAllen, Texas. They continued and looked forward to their traditional annual southern migration from Swea City to South Texas each winter.

Merlin was known for his sense of humor and easy-going manner. Some of his favorite sayings were: I didn’t do too bad for an old flunky. I’m just a recycled teenager. I only got a mile and a half down the road. Needs and wants are two different things. I’d like to pay him what he thinks he’s worth and sell him for less.

Survivors of Merlin’s family are his twin sister, Marlene Thorson of Spencer; and sister, Betty Martin of Chewelah, Wash; his stepdaughters, Deanne (Jason) Brace, Lone Rock and Kim (Chuck) Wollner, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.; their children: Aaron (Amy) Brace, Amber (Zac) VanDerSchaegen, Zeb (Tiffany) Wollner and Sara (Omar) Rodriguez; along with five great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Survivors include his wife of almost 11 years, Arl Carlson; her children: Randy (Vickie) Paulson, Kenn (Ellen Austreng) Paulson, Scott (Donna) Paulson, Cindy (Aaron) Klockzien, Todd (Jennifer Neibauer) Paulson; brother, Walter (Sheryl Fredin) Schmid and sisters: Margery (Clay) Werner, and Janice (LeRoy) Heller; 14 step grandchildren, 28 step great-grandchildren; and 17 step great-great-grandchildren.

Preceding Merlin in death were his parents, Beda and John Carlson, wife Doris, stepson Steven Ditsworth, brothers-in-law Everett Thorson and Gordy Martin, and niece Teresa Thorson Paulson.

Merlin will be in our hearts forever and loved and missed by all.

 Online condolences may be left for Merlin’s family at




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