Merle Stowe was born April 6, 1928, in Glendorado Township, Princeton, Minnesota, to John Melvin and Mary (White) Stowe. Growing up in hard times and with an 8th grade education, he had to leave home with his brother Vernon at 15 years old to find work, with his travels taking him throughout Western Minnesota, the Red River Valley and South Dakota, where he worked on threshing crews and sugar beet harvests. At age 17, he joined the US Navy, and was stationed in Texas and Florida for two years, where he repaired damaged aircraft. On June 5, 1948, he married the love of his life, Deloris Svihel at Foley Presbyterian Church. They celebrated 60 years of marriage, had three children, and loved to dance together. Merle was a risk taker, buying land to add to the farm that had been in his family since the 1870s, but always made sure his family was well provided for, and was proud the family farmland is still being farmed today. In addition to farming his whole life, Merle briefly operated Svihels Corner Gas Station as a young man. Getting his start hauling sugar beets as a 15 year old in the Red River Valley, Merle knew trucking was his calling. He started by having a milk route many years, and then started his own business, Stowe Trucking, which led him to make thousands of trips hauling area livestock to South St. Paul and area sales barns and packing plants. He also back hauled freight for many years supplying area hardware stores and lumberyards, until semi-retiring at the age of 70. Merle was a lifetime resident of Glendorado Township. He was a busy man, but through his life took pride in giving back and serving his community. Merle served as Clerk of County School District 86, Supervisor of Glendorado Township, Board Member of Benton County Historical Society, DNR Fire Warden, Farmers Union leader, local Civil Defense leader, and Elder for the Presbyterian Church. He was also a member of Foley American Legion and Foley Presbyterian Church. He was an avid collector of postage stamps, loved going to farm auctions and garage sales, and later in life collected IH machinery to add to his toy collection. Favorite pastime were listening to old time and country music and drinking coffee.
He is survived by his three children, Linda King, Sue Stowe, Glenn (Sue) Stowe, 7 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and dog Rex. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Deloris in 2008, grandson Anthony Stowe, great grandchildren Logan King and Baby Martin, brother Vernon (Margot) Stowe, sister Lorraine (Robert) Brunn, and brothers & sisters-in laws, Bob Lammers, Ed Svihel, Len & Evelyn Svihel, Les & Ruth Svihel, Bob & Amelda Svihel. Memorials are preferred in lieu of flowers.
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