Merle J. Jesme, 75

Merle Jesme web and newspaper photo.jpg

Thief River Falls – Merle J. Jesme, 75 of Thief River Falls, died suddenly on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at his residence with his loving family at his side.
    Funeral Service will be 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Plummer with Rev. Jonathan Dodson officiating.  Military honors will be provided by the Plummer American Legion Post.  Burial will be at Oak Grove Cemetery in Newfolden.
    Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. with a 7 p.m. prayer service on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls.  Visitation will also be held one hour prior to the service on Wednesday at Immanuel Lutheran Church.
    Merle James Jesme was born July 15, 1941 in Wannaska, the son of James and Pearl (Torfin) Jesme. He was baptized and confirmed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
    Merle graduated from Roseau High School in 1959. He moved to So. Milwaukee, Wisc. with his family and worked at the Patrick Cudahy Meat Packing Plant while studying at MIT. He also worked as a shipping clerk for a chemical supplier and Allan Bradley Electronics Co. He became a licensed pilot of small engine planes in 1959.
    In February of 1964, Merle was drafted into the US Army. He served two years in Germany as a military policeman/repairman. Following an honorable discharge, he returned to employment at Allan Bradley Co. in Milwaukee.
    On June 10, 1967, Merle was united in marriage to Rebecca Odberg. Their only child, daughter Kelly, was born January 9, 1969. They lived in Middle River, where Merle and his brothers, Harold and Iver, purchased Overold Hardware.
    Merle had various careers in Middle River including sales at H&M Manufacturing, trucking (MJ Trucking), and driving grain truck. He had an interest in finance and held various positions at banks all over MN until 1977. He took a job in Plummer as the Executive Vice President of Plummer State Bank and in 1980 purchased 100% stock. He started The Plummer Agency, Inc. Insurance Sales and Real Estate Brokerage which he owned and operated until retirement.
    On February 8, 1997, Merle was united in marriage to Lorna Huotari in Plummer. They established their home in Plummer, moving to Thief River Falls in 2014 and enjoyed spending the winters in Apache Junction, AZ. He was an active member of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Plummer, the American Legion, 40Et8, VFW, Lions Club International, Moose Lodge, and Eagles.
    Merle enjoyed spending his life fishing, hunting, playing poker, and having conversation with anybody willing to listen. He was also a huge advocate for lutefisk.
    He is survived by wife, Lorna; daughter, Kelly (Bruce) Thygeson of Thief River Falls; four grandchildren, Marshall, Hannah, Lee Ann (Kayne), and Hollis; four stepchildren, DeeAnn (Jon) Egeland of Billings, MT, Cindy (Eric) Nielsen of Westby, MT, Neil (Laurie) Huotari of Wayzata, and Bryce (Jenni) Huotari of Moorhead; step grandchildren, Jonnie, Jorey, and Jamison Egeland; Taylor, Brett, and Katie Nielsen; Aiden, Zach, and Morgan Huotari; Carter, Grady, and Finley Huotari; one sister, Phyllis Larson of So. Milwaukee; and numerous great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
    He was preceded in death by late wife, Rebecca, in 1993; parents, James and Pearl; one sister, Delores Palm; and two brothers, Iver and Harold Jesme.
    Merle Jesme passed away suddenly on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at his Thief River Falls home, with his loving wife by his side, at the age of 75 years, 7 months, and 24 days.
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