Merle W. Brown, 89, of Monmouth, passed away peacefully at Monmouth Nursing Home on Aug. 15, 2013 at 11:46 am. Merle was born in Mercer County near Aledo, on Dec. 30, 1923. He was the youngest son of Oliver and Myra Park Brown. He grew up in Mercer County, played quarterback for the Aledo High School Green Dragons and graduated in 1941. After high school, he worked at L & G Grocery, John Deere in East Moline and then at the Bettendorf Tank Factory. He enlisted in the United States Navy in February of 1943 and was assigned to the USS Owen, a destroyer out of Treasure Island, Calif. Merle served overseas in the Pacific Theater for twenty months and crossed the equator thirty-two times. Merle married Patricia Mae Mahaffey on Nov. 7, 1943 in the chapel at Treasure Island. After his discharge, Merle made his home in Monmouth and worked for Clark and McNeil Grocery, and later at R & V Grocery until 1950 when he began his career with Illinois Power Company where he served in the gas, forestry and lineman departments until retiring on Dec. 30, 1985.
He was active and a long time member of Faith United Presbyterian Church serving as Deacon and Trustee. He also was a member of the Monmouth Elks Club, Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and the Marion B. Fletcher American Legion Post 136. He was a long-standing member of Lake Warren and enjoyed serving on the lake board. He coached Little League Baseball and served as Cub Scout Pack Master. One of his greatest joys however was helping Santa make appearances at area schools, nursing homes and the homes of those who needed some Christmas spirit. He helped with Santa’s activities for 30 years. He was humbled and honored to receive awards such as the Lion’s Club Community Service Award in 2000, the Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award in 2001, the Monmouth School District’s Distinguished Service Award and the Grand Marshal of the Prime Beef Festival Parade.
Surviving Merle is his wife, Patricia Brown of Monmouth, whom he was blessed to be married to for 70 years, and four sons: James (Kris) Brown of Monmouth; Tary (Lyndea) Brown of Albany, Georgia; Denny (Sandy) Brown of Aledo; and Kriss (Cindy) Brown of Naperville. He leaves behind 12 dearly-loved grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, and three sisters.
His family received friends at his visitation on Sunday afternoon at Turnbull Funeral Home in Monmouth from 3 to 5 pm. His funeral service was held at Faith United Presbyterian Church on Monday Aug. 19, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. Interment with military honors will follow at Warren County Memorial Park Cemetery in Monmouth. Memorial donations may be made to Faith United Presbyterian Church of Monmouth, or "Relay for Life". For more information please visit www.turnbullfuneralhomes.com