Merle A. Gulbranson, age 80, of Brookings, SD, passed away Monday, June 4, 2018 at his home.
Merle Alton was born March 7, 1938 in Flandreau, SD, to Alton Ole and Myra Mary (Stokes) Gulbranson. He grew up north of Colman, SD, living with his brother Harold, sister Karoline, parents and grandparents on a farm. He attended 8 years of country school at McCurdy #54 then went on to Rutland High School where he received his diploma in 1956. Rutland High School is where he met and courted his soul mate Sheron Wandell and they were married on September 2, 1956. Still being 17, his parents had to sign for him to get married. They celebrated 61 years of marriage in 2017. In 1956 Merle got a job as a hired man for Cecil Byg by Crooks, SD. He then worked for William Swier of Colton, SD, and then Arley Hill north of Brookings where he lived in a two room house on the property. In 1960 they bought a farm from Casjen’s and Merle farmed it with his kids until 1989 when he sold out and moved to town. Merle started Purina feeds with his parents and brother in 1961 which included mobile feed grinding in Brookings. Then they took over Purina Produce in Flandreau, SD, until selling out in 1970. Then he drove semi for Floyd Dino Christmas trees from Wisconsin to Kansas. He also drove with Dwayne Damm, worked on elevators for Sam Dejong and drove orange turtle for John Reed both of White, SD. He also drove for Midwest Coast, a grain farmer, delivered turkey eggs and graded township roads. In 1981 he started driving for Coast to Coast warehouse and retired in 2003 after 22 years and millions of miles. After retiring he went back to work part-time at Reed Intermill trucking and shuttled rental trucks between towns for Rental Depot. Merle was a lifetime member of Midway Lutheran Church, was a Bethel Home board representative for Midway Lutheran and served on the local school board in the 60’s. He enjoyed helping out, being with his family and visiting relatives, friends and neighbors. They belonged to an RV club and would get together at different campgrounds and do some activities.
Merle is survived by his wife: Sheron; 8 children: Merle (DeAnn), Colman; Craig, Scott (Jill Hankins), Todd (Deborah) and Terry (Lori), all of Brookings, Pam (Bryan Zehm), Omaha, NE, Anna (Les) Bothe, Badger, and Sidney, Madison; 17 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren. Merle was preceded in death by two grandchildren, Leah and Dustin Gulbranson, his parents and his brother, Harold.
Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Friday, June 8, 2018 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Flandreau, with burial in Midway Lutheran Cemetery, rural Colman, SD. Visitation will be 5 – 7 p.m. Thursday at Skroch Funeral Chapel, Flandreau. www.skrochfc.com