Merle Oxley, age 85 of Sac City, IA, passed away peacefully on Friday, August 14, 2020, at Loring Hospital in Sac City.
Merle Duane Oxley, known to many as “Sonny”, was born on March 23, 1935, to parents Harold and Elsie (Crow) Oxley on a farm in Hancock County, Iowa. He was baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith and survived a long, difficult battle with childhood polio, which he survived with no negative effect. He graduated from Corwith High School in 1953. His favorite activities in school were lunch, recess and baseball.
In September of 1953, Merle married his high school sweetheart, Marlene Peterson, in Corwith, IA. Shortly after, Merle joined the United States Marine Corps. Merle and Marlene were blessed with three children: Joyce, David and Deb. Together they had a fourth child, Jeffrey that passed away along with his mother during childbirth in 1959.
Upon moving to Fort Dodge, IA, to become a recruiter for the Marine Corp, he met and married Mildred “Millie” Lloyd in Blue Earth, MN. They became a family of five and would grow that number by three more as Kim, Todd, and Greg were born. Merle and Millie primarily made their homes in Storm Lake, Newell and eventually Sac City where they celebrated their 60th anniversary on July 29 of this year.
Merle’s military service included active duty for eleven years, followed by an additional twenty years serving in the Marine Corps Reserve, retiring in 1983. He achieved rank of Master Gunnery Sargent, the highest rank possible for an enlisted person. He played in the military band and played in the opening day parade at Disneyland. Merle was stationed in Okinawa in 1955/1956 for fifteen months and on several other bases across the U.S. He was very proud to serve his country.
During his lifetime, he held several jobs including thirteen years at Hygrade where he served as president of the local union and managing the Dairy Queen in Storm Lake. Merle completed his career with the United States Postal Service as Postmaster of the Lytton office.
Merle was very musically talented and was involved in several musical groups over the years. He sang with numerous community choruses and quartets, as well as being a soloist for many area weddings and funerals. Always one to entertain, Merle joined and took part in many plays with the Buena Vista Community Theatre, including playing the part of the King in the King and I and had a leading role in the Music Man.
Never one to sit still, Merle’s hobbies included a stint with stock race racing and involvement in the community serving as a member of the Lions Club, Toastmasters, and Kiwanis just to name a few. Merle’s love of horses led him to buy an acreage. He raised and bred Percherons and was a member of the Percheron Horse Association of America. He thoroughly enjoyed harnessing up his horses to give wagon rides and to work the land. He was always sure to attend the Albert City Threshermen and Collectors Show with his horses every August in Albert City, IA. He was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sac City.
Merle was a man who loved his family dearly. Any time spent with them was cherished. They brought him so much joy and he was so proud of each and every one of them. He was a one-of-a-kind man who was full of so many great qualities that will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Burial will be held at the Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery in Van Meter.
Merle leaves behind his wife of sixty years, Millie Oxley of Sac City, IA; children: Joyce Person of Chaska, MN, David (Mary) Oxley of Hastings, MN, Deb (Pete) Kemp of Stamford, NE, Kim (Walt) Jacobsen of Grimes, IA, Todd (Laurie) Oxley of Huxley, IA, and Greg (Tracy) Oxley of Stephenville, TX; grandchildren: Shannon Stenson, Brenna and Adrian Vanderhoff-Oxley, Chris and Melissa Thompson, Brook and Rachel Jacobsen, and Hannah and Allyn Oxley; sister Marian “Mim” (Roy) Shields of Aurora, CO; brother-in-law Jim Lloyd of NC; many extended family members and friends.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Marlene Oxley and infant son, Jeffrey; parents Harold and Elsie Oxley; sister and brother-in-law Ailene and Mort Mulford; parents-in-law Everett and Frances Lloyd; brother-in-law Keane Lloyd; and nephew Jim Mulford.