Merl F. Rider age 84, of Lakin, Kansas died Monday, April 11, 2011 at Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital in Ulysses, Kansas. He was born November 15, 1926 in Lakin, Kansas at his Grandmother Weatherly’s two story house, the son of Frank and Dorothy (Spencer) Rider.
Merl‘s parents separated when he was around two years old. His mother and he moved in with his Grandpa, Charlie Spencer, and Uncle Harry Spencer. He lived with them until he was ten years old when his mother married Pete Kiistner. Uncle Harry was a father to him up to this time and he held his respect all his life. After graduating from North Star School, Merl attended Lakin High School and graduated in 1944. He volunteered and was accepted in to the Navy V-5 program, which was for future Navy pilots. He was 17 years old when was on his way to Washburn University for his required college and strenuous Naval training. While there the war was over and Merl was discharged in 1946. Merl stayed in the Navy Reserves and transferred to Kansas University and graduated in 1948, and was commissioned an Ensign and spent time on the USS “E.G. Small” destroyer on maneuvers in the Caribbean. Merl met and married Beth Nelson on June 15, 1947 in Topeka, Kansas. They moved back to Lakin and began farming in the Menno community. In 1981, Merl and Beth built a house in Lakin. He was a member of the Lakin United Methodist Church, North Star School Board, Lakin School Board for 14 years, Kansas School Board Legislative Committee, A.S.C.S. County Committee, Farmers Co-op, Pioneer Telephone, Library and different church boards and Lakin B.O.E. for 14 years.
He is survived by his wife Beth of the home; one son, Nelson F. Rider and wife Joyce of Ulysses, Kansas; two daughters, Kristina A. Bell and husband Jim of Lakin, Kansas, Margaret E. Simpson of Duncan, Oklahoma; step-sister, Margaret Flummerfelt of Hugoton, Kansas; seven grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.
Merl was preceded in death by his parents; step-dad, Pete Kiistner; step-brother, Floyd Kiistner; and one grandson, Bryan Bell.
Funeral service will be held Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 10:30 AM at the Lakin United Methodist Church in Lakin, Kansas with Reverend Tod Anthony officiating. Interment will follow at the Lakin Cemetery in Lakin, Kansas. Friends may call Wednesday, April 13, 2011 from 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM at Garnand Funeral Home in Lakin. Memorial contributions may be given to the Merl F. Rider Scholarship Fund in care of Garnand Funeral Home, PO Box 91, Lakin, KS 67860.