Harry Martin Merlak, age 97, of Jordan passed away on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 at the VA Nursing Home in Miles City.
Harry Martin Merlak was born at the Merlak homestead, one of a set of twin boys, to William and Louise Merlak on May 11, 1922. Harry was the younger twin but the biggest and it was the only time he was ever bigger than brother Billy. His mother said she didn’t even have enough diapers for one baby let alone two!
Harry attended grade school at Lone Tree in the Brusett area, moving to Michigan and attending the 8th grade, returning and attending high school at Garfield Co. High School, graduating in 1941. After graduating from high school he and twin brother Billy returned to the home place to farm and ranch, Harry enlisted in the U.S. Navy to go along with brother Billy who had been drafted. They served two years in the Navy in 1944 & 1945.
Following his military service, he returned to the Merlak Ranch to resume farming and ranching.
On May 7, 1966 he married Marian James in Jordan. They had one son Mark Benjamin who passed away on May 20, 1988.
Harry loved farming and continued farming into his 90’s. Harry also loved the Registered Hereford cattle they raised. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing. Harry served on the Garfield County Fair Board and was a lifetime member of the V.F.W. Post 7886 in Jordan. He was a member of the Assembly of God Church.
Harry retired from the ranch in 1989, moved to Jordan where he worked for the Pioneer Garage running the Jordan Freight truck to Billings once a week and driving the Propane truck the rest of the time. He worked there for over 10 years and then had the pleasure of moving out with Craig Shawver from April until October or November (when the first snow came) and continued helping Craig farm and ranch for over 10 years. Craig leased the Merlak Ranch so Harry enjoyed doing all of the things he loved until he quit in 2015 because of a fall. Harry was able to stay at the CLC VA nursing home in Miles City for the last months of his life where he enjoyed excellent care and enjoyed getting acquainted with other service members.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his twin brother Bill, his son Mark, brothers-in-law Allen Barnes and Robert U. James. He is survived by his wife Marian, of 53 years, two sisters-in-law Karen Barnes and Beverly James and several nieces and nephews and cousins.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, July 5, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at the VFW Hall in Jordan. Military graveside services will follow in the Pioneer Cemetery in Jordan. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com.
Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the VFW Post 7886 in Jordan, the Assembly of God Church in Jordan or the VA Nursing Home in Miles City.