Merle Dean Mortland, 86, unexpectedly passed away on April 4, 2017 with his wife and two of his children at his bedside. He was born in Emmetsburg, Iowa to Earl and Laura (Ferguson) Mortland on January 23, 1931. In 1949, he graduated from Estherville High School, in Iowa. Merle enlisted in the Air Force in 1951, and during this time, he and his high school sweetheart, Marge Nelson, were married in Inglewood, California on September 5, 1953. They spent their honeymoon traveling back to Travis Air Force Base where he was stationed. He was honorably discharged in 1954, after completing his four years of service. Merle earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State College in 1958. After this he earned a Master of Science Degree in Engineering Administration from Southern Methodist University in 1966. He retired from the Department of Defense after 21 years of service. Merle also spent time over the last 40 years, buying and selling houses, which he thoroughly enjoyed and took pride doing.
Merle loved children and humanity itself, this was shown in the work he did throughout his life. He was a mentor through Big Brothers and Sisters Organization, volunteered at the Dallas County Independent School District, a substitute teacher for the Irving Independent School district, Committee Chairman for Boys Scouts of America in Fort Worth, and a member of the Texas Public Policy Foundation where he and his wife were members, and they both volunteered and built houses in El Salvador, through Habitat for Humanity. Merle enjoyed planting flowers, feeding all the birds and critters that frequented his back yard, spending time with his family and friends, playing games, swimming, reading, joke telling and traveling the world with his wife.
He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Lee and 2 sisters Marjorie Haneline and Marie Peterson. Left to cherish his memory is wife of almost 65 years Marge; son Lance; daughter Debra and husband Gene; daughter Cherie and husband Curtis; daughter Darci and husband Larry; 2 brothers Dale and Roger and 4 wonderful grandchildren Seene, Chaz, Amy and Richard, whom he cherished and each had a special place in his heart. The time he spent with all of them meant the world to him and made him feel blessed to have them in his life.
The family would like to give a special thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in Irving for the excellent care they gave to Merle.
A Memorial Service to celebrate his life will be held 11:00 am, Thursday, April 27, 2017 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2505 W. Northgate Dr. in Irving. An Inurnment with Military Honors will be held at Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery at 10:00 am on Thursday, July 27, 2017. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to The Arbor Day Foundation, The Salvation Army or a charity of your choice.
Rejoice with us in knowing that, “to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 5:8)