Merle Dean Bruner was born August 19, 1933, in Hillsboro, the son of Cecil and Virgil “Virgie” (Westerman) Bruner. He was raised in Marion along with his sister Genevieve “Sis.” Merle enlisted into the Army in 1953. On Feb. 12, 1956, he was united in marriage to the love of his life, Nova Bredemeier. Their union was blessed with two daughters, Cristi and Cathy.
Merle was a diesel mechanic by trade. When their daughters were young, they would spend their weekends at 81 Speedway. He raced a car one time, and Nova decided she could not handle him racing and she told him he could only work on the cars and not race them. He had a love of all things racing, especially midget and sprint cars.
In the late ’70s, following his retirement as a mechanic, he and Nova made their home in Marion, where they ran a jewelry store. Later, he was superintendent for the city of Marion for 24 years. Merle enjoyed being a volunteer fire chief for many years until he retired.
After retirement, he could be seen waiting in the car for Nova to get done shopping or sitting in the bleachers at his grandkids’ ball games. Upon the death of Nova in Nov. 2012, he was able to stay at and enjoy their home until July 2017 when he moved to Marion Assisted Living, where he made new friends and caught up with old ones.
Merle was called home to be with Nova on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Nova; his parents, Cecil and Virgil; his sister, Genevieve “Jenny”; and an infant brother, Quentin.
Merle is survived by his two daughters, Cristi Soyez and husband, Frank, of Cedar Point, Kansas; and Cathy Cleeton and husband, Rick, of Marion, Kansas; grandchildren, Melanie Grimmett and husband, Tyson; Ashley Hoffman and husband, Jeff; Sara Miller and husband, Steven; Jenile Taylor and husband, Mike; Brent Cleeton and wife, Sequoia; and Amanda Brown; 11 great-grandchildren, Bethany and Heidi Grimmett; Jagger and Jettlyn Miller; Shannon, Quentin, Jaseson, and Kolemon Taylor; Hagen Gardner; and Ayden and Kasen Brown.
Merle will be missed by all who knew and loved him. We take comfort he is with our Mom, Grandma, and Great-Grandma.
Last modified May 24, 2018