Merlin Kruger

Merlin F. Kruger, 93, of Lansing, formerly of Waukon and Harpers Ferry, died Saturday, April 6, 2019 at Thornton Manor in Lansing. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, April 10 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Waukon with Pastor Wayne Ellingson and Irmgard Ellingson M.A. officiating.

Burial with military rites will be at Oakland Cemetery, Waukon. Friends may call from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 at Martin Funeral Home in Waukon. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Harpers Ferry American Legion or the Harpers Ferry Library.

Merlin Frederick Kruger was born August 6, 1925 on the Ludlow Township, rural Waukon farm of his parents, Arthur Elmer and Esther Wilhelmina (Winke) Kruger. He was baptized and confirmed at Zalmona Presbyterian Church in rural Waukon. Merlin attended Ludlow #2 rural elementary school, graduated from Waukon High School in 1942 and from Waukon Junior College in 1944.

Following school he worked in the Allamakee County Auditor’s Office for a few years. From 1948 to 1951 Merlin served in the U.S. Army, where he spent part of his duty as a Chaplain’s Assistant in Okinawa during the Korean War. June 1, 1952, he married Charlotte Alma Kosbau at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Waukon. Charlotte died in 1994. October 28, 2000, he married Virginia Cassel Ziegler, also at St. John’s. Virginia died in 2015.

Merlin spent his working years in a variety of occupations. In 1951 he began a 31-year career with Waukon State Bank, first as a teller and eventually a loan officer and vice president. After retiring from the bank, he served as City Clerk of Waukon until 1990. In his later years he worked at both Martin Funeral Home and the Waukon Golf and Country Club. He was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, American Legion in Harpers Ferry, VFW in Waukon, and the Eagles Club in Prairie du Chien, WI.

Merlin loved to garden, maintaining a greenhouse at his home as well as beautiful plants and flowers in his yards. After living in Waukon for many years, Merlin moved to Harpers Ferry in 1996, where he loved spending time at his home on the Mississippi River. He was an excellent cook and particularly good baker known for his desserts, breads and rolls. Music was an important part of his life. He played the organ and sang for countless numbers of funerals and weddings and was an active member for many years in the Little Switzerland of Iowa Harmonizers, a barbershop singing chapter in Waukon. He also enjoyed playing cards, bar bingo and golf.

As both his wives, Charlotte and Virginia, faced health challenges in their later years, Merlin proved to be a dedicated and very capable care giver to each of them. Merlin made friends easily and enjoyed spending time with all of them. Not having children of his own, he was particularly appreciative of spending family time with his nieces and nephews and Virginia’s children and their families.

Survivors include his sister, Janice McNitt of The Villages, FL; two nieces, Kris (Eaton) Cote’ of Waukon and Julie Rundle of California; three nephews, Steve (Boni) Hanson of Harpers Ferry, John Hanson of St. Charles, IL and Ron Kruger of West Union; two step-daughters, Barbara (Deane) Miller and Karen Phillips, both of Watertown, WI; five step-grandchildren; six step-great-grandchildren; two step-great-great-grandchildren; along with other relatives and many friends. He is preceded in death by his parents; his wives, Charlotte and Virginia; two sisters, Grace Kruger and Ruth Hanson; two brothers, Virgil and Kermit Kruger; and a stepson-in-law, Joe Phillips.

Casketbearers are Steve Hanson, John Hanson, Eaton Cote’, Dan Schulte, Bob Handburg, Mark Sherman and Josh Roe. Online condolences may be left at

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