NEW SHARON — Merlin Dean Spoelstra, 44, of rural New Sharon, died early Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Keokuk County.
He was born Oct. 2, 1969, at Oskaloosa, the son of Harold and Freda Vander Streek Spoelstra. He attended the Oskaloosa Christian School and then North Mahaska High School and graduated with the class of 1988. Early in his adult life, Merlin farmed on the family farm until 1999. On Aug. 21, 1998, Merlin was united in marriage to Andrea Fifer at Newton. He worked at Ring-O-Matic in Pella for a couple of years; then Miraco in Grinnell for a while; and then DeJong Manufacturing in New Sharon. At present, Merlin drove truck for DFS in Oskaloosa. Merlin was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Oskaloosa. He enjoyed gardening; raising and tending his chickens; hunting, and fishing.
His family includes his wife, Andrea, of rural New Sharon; their children: Ashley Elizabeth (age 12), Angela Anne (age 4), Aubrey Jo (age 3), and Melvin Dean (age 18 months), all at home; his father, Harold Spoelstra, of New Sharon; his brothers and sisters: Larry Spoelstra, of New Sharon, Edwin (and Karen) Spoelstra, of Leighton, Donald Spoelstra, of New Sharon, Linda (and Mark) Franje, of New Sharon, Steven (and Brenda) Spoelstra, of New Sharon, Mark (and Staci) Spoelstra, of New Sharon, and Ruth (and Michael) Veenstra, of Oskaloosa; his parents-in- law: Dave and Sherry Fifer, of Newton; a brother-in-law: Scott (and Kim) Fifer, of Carlisle, and a sister-in-law: Jennifer (and Chris) Cones, of Newton; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his mother (on March 19, 2014); and a sister in infancy, Delores Ann Spoelstra.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, March 31, at 10:30 a.m. in the Grace Lutheran Church, Oskaloosa, with the Rev. Roger Neumann officiating. Burial will be in the Evergreen Cemetery near Leighton. Visitation will begin at the Bates Funeral Chapel on Sunday after 11 a.m., and the family will be at the funeral chapel on Sunday from 1 – 3 p.m. to greet friends and relatives. A memorial fund has been established for his children.