Funeral services for Merle G. Pickner, 86, of Mitchell, will be 2 p.m. Thursday, March 21, 2019 at the Pukwana Free Lutheran Church in Pukwana, with burial in the Pukwana Cemetery at Pukwana. Visitation will be Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m. with family present at the Hickey Funeral Chapel in Chamberlain, SD.
Memorials may be directed to the Pukwana Lutheran Church, PO Box 77, Pukwana, SD or Pukwana Cemetery, 34947 249th St, Pukwana, SD 57370.
Merle Gerald Pickner was born Oct. 13, 1932 to Fred and Pauline (Bramblett) Pickner at Chamberlain, SD. He attended school at Pukwana where he graduated from Pukwana High School in 1950. On January 17, 1952, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving during the Korean War. During this time, he met Gloria M. Gordon and on December 19, 1952, they were united in marriage.
After his discharge on January 13, 1956, they returned to South Dakota where Merle attended Dakota Wesleyan University receiving his degree in Education. He later attended the University of South Dakota where he received his Master's Degree in Educational Administration. Merle began his educational career as a teacher and coach in Pukwana, and then in school administration at Keystone, He Dog, Mission, Martin, Presho, with the last 20 years of his career at Jefferson, SD. He retired in 1991 and returned to rural Pukwana.
On October 2, 1993, Merle was united in marriage to LaVonne J. Hoelker at Chamberlain. They made their home on a small acreage near Pukwana for several years before moving to Mitchell where they lived for the last 20 years.
Merle was a member of the VFW, American Legion, and School Administrators of South Dakota. In his younger years he enjoyed fishing with his brother Marvin and also hunting. His greatest joy was spending time with his grandchildren and family.
Merle passed away on March 14, 2019 at the Avera Brady Healthcare in Mitchell. Gratefully sharing his life are his children: two sons, Kevin Pickner of Onida, and Steven Pickner of Henderson, Nevada; four daughters, Susan (Brad) Landon of Granbury, Texas, Patti (Bill) Fuchs of Pierre, Linda Kennel of Baker, Montana, and Ellen (Dale) Goettsch of Burnsville, Minnesota; 17 grandchildren; and 10 great grandchildren.
Preceding him in death were his parents; two wives, Gloria and LaVonne; and two brothers, Marvin and Ralph.