Merlin William Ebert, age 98, slipped peacefully into the arms of Jesus in the evening hours of September 24, 2021. His loving wife and children were by his side. Merlin was born on July 10, 1923, to parents William and Anna (Meissner) Ebert on the Hebron place in Big Creek (town of Rockland), WI. He graduated from the one-room Bush Prairie Grade School in 1937.
Ollie Swanson, the State Superintendent of Schools for Wisconsin, had a great influence on him during those years and he continued to speak fondly of her right up until the time of his death. One of Ms. Swanson’s quotes that Merlin shared many times over was “Do the best you can, with what you have, wherever you are.” Merlin graduated from Sparta High School in 1942, and bought his first car in 1945, a 1936 Olds Coupe.
In 1946 Merlin got his first job “off the farm”. As the years went along he worked as a yardman at
Seeman/Nuzum’s Lumberyard and served on the Sparta Fire Department from 1960-1974 when he
retired as Captain. In 1965 Merlin brought the skills he had accumulated along the way and bought the Badger Paint Store renaming it as Ebert’s Badger Paint Store. He was very knowledgeable and well-loved by his customers in this new venture. When he “retired” in 1985 and sold the business, he stayed busy helping his family, crafting with wood, and returning to work part-time in the lumberyard business.
On June 5, 1948 Merlin married Ruth Hughes in Sparta, WI and they became life-long members of the Sparta United Methodist Church. They were blessed with three children: Margaret (Margy), Ronald (Ron), and Mark. Merlin enjoyed his family immensely and had so many attributes: he was dedicated, loyal, tender-hearted, trustworthy, handy, witty and wise, a friendly neighbor, faithful, always willing to lend a helping hand, humorous, a huge tease and storyteller, content, grateful, and optimistic…always telling his family “It will get better.” He will be remembered as always loving his sweets, whether it was chocolate (always a favorite), pie (pecan, sour cream raisin, and rhubarb), cookies, cake, or ice cream.
Merlin was a successful and ethical businessman, a fine craftsman who enjoyed woodworking, a fun-loving card player, and in his earlier years also enjoyed 4-wheeling and hunting. Sitting and napping on his patio, watching the birds and nature in general, were favorite pastimes.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughter, Margy Heath, and sons Ron (Denise) Ebert and Mark (Sherry) Ebert; grandchildren-Carrie (Kevin) McLain, Cassie (Carl) Smiskey, Crystal (Ryan) Johnson, Ron (Kandi) Ebert, Jr., Christopher Ebert, Dalton Ebert, and Cordell Ebert; great grandchildren-Marisa (Josiah) Kleven, Kayla and Collin McLain, Madeline McLain-Heath, Heath, Charlie, Maggy, and Garrett Johnson, K’Lynn Friemoth, Aubrey, Josh, and Lily Ebert; brother, Harvey Ebert; brother-in-law, Willard (Bill) Hayes; and many nieces, nephews, and life-long friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Anna Ebert; brothers, Robert and Roger; sisters, Arlene (Ebert) Hayes and Annabelle (Ebert) Sharp; sisters-in-law, Mary Ebert, Eleanor Ebert, and Lorraine Ebert; brother-in-law, Richard Sharp; favorite son-in-law, Gary Heath; granddaughters, Courtney, Candace, and Charity Heath.
Services for Merlin will be held on Thursday, September 30, 2021 at the United Methodist Church in Sparta, WI. Visitation will be at 10:00 AM followed by the funeral service at 11:00 AM. Burial will be at the Woodlawn Cemetery after the service. The family is inviting the family and friends to stay for lunch following the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Merlin’s memory to United Methodist Church, Sparta Area Cancer Society (SACS), or the Sparta Area Fire District.
Online condolences may be offered at www.schanhoferfh.com.
Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation of Sparta is assisting the family with arrangements.