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Meryl Jane (Manke) Kirkeng, 98 of West Salem, Wisconsin passed away peacefully on January 18th, 2024 at Mulder’s Healthcare Facility. Meryl was born November 2nd, 1925 in Monroe County to Henry and Edith (Sveum) Manke. She graduated from Wilton High School and went on to work at Fort McCoy and Ben Franklin in Sparta, WI.
On November 12th, 1946, Meryl married Sidney Kirkeng. Together, they raised their five children while running a dairy farm in Rockland, WI for over 40 years. Meryl was a member of the Fish Creek Ridge Lutheran Church, the Fish Creek Ridge Ladies Aide and was a Sunday School teacher. Meryl’s Christian faith was carried through and shown bright with the kindness she showed towards others. You had to be careful when complimenting her on what she was wearing or something you thought was pretty in her house, because she would be quick to offer it to you. She loved spending time with her family by catching up on their everyday life and playing cards.
Most notably, Meryl showed her love by cooking and baking for all of those she held dear to her heart. You never left Meryl’s house hungry or without a hug. She also enjoyed tending to her vegetable and flower gardens, sewing quilts, and playing bingo. In her later years, she loved it when her family would pick her up for a trip to the local bakery or drive through, where she could share food and conversations with those she held most dear.
Meryl is survived by her four children, Andy (Jean) Kirkeng of Gillette, Wy, Diane Johnson of West Salem, WI, Betty (Ron) Schmidt of La Crosse, WI, Bruce Kirkeng of Sparta, WI, two sisters; Elmae Holte and Linda Manke.
She was a devoted grandmother and survived by Jackie Kirkeng Crogan, Jessica (Jared) Hauser, Kristi (Tom) Parent, Ashley (Dave) Bauer, Anthony Schmidt, Cody (Heather) Kirkeng, Dustin Johnson, and Tyler Johnson.
She adored her great grandchildren and is survived by Zachary Crogan, Nick Crogan, Joshua Hauser, Jaxson Hauser, Carlie Jones, Kendall Burkhamer, Kyler Burkhamer, Arya Bauer, Phoenix Bauer, Stella Schmidt, Ryker Kirkeng, Brooks Kirkeng, Laken Kirkeng and many nieces and nephews.
Meryl was preceded in death by her husband, Sidney Kirkeng, parents, Henry and Edith Manke, brother Luane Manke, sister Loraine Olson, son Roger Kirkeng, daughter-in-law, Marilyn (Ghelfi) Kirkeng, great-grandson, Nathaniel Crogan and great-granddaughter, Evangeline Bauer.
We would like to thank all of the Mulder’s Healthcare staff for their support and kindness throughout the years Meryl was in their care. We are also thankful to Mayo Medical Center & Mayo Hospice staff for taking care of Meryl in her final months with us. It was a comfort to know that she was being cared for by such professional and empathetic staff. We are so blessed and thankful for Pastor Patrick Ziems of Fish Creek Ridge Lutheran Church for his thoughtful visits and prayers for Meryl and her family. Lastly, thank you to Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home for their kind and caring support. God bless you all from the family of Meryl Kirkeng.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024 at Fish Creek Ridge Lutheran Church, 5467 County Hwy J, Rockland, WI 54653. A visitation will be held prior from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Online guestbook is available at www.schanhoferfh.com
Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.