He was born on March 18, 1929, in Van, Pa., to Warren Garnet Sheffer and Neva Izora (Ziegler) Sheffer. On Aug. 16, 1951, in Oil City, Pa., he was married to Patricia Louise Lane, who survives in Winona Lake.
He was a 1947 graduate of Cranberry High School, Cranberry, Pa., where he was a star basketball and baseball player. While in school he was active in the high school band, orchestra and drama club, as well as a member of the “Hayrake League,” a local baseball league. Merle was privileged to be selected to attend the first inter-collegiate all-state band and chorus in 1950, directed by conductor Fred Waring.
Merle in 1951 from Clarion State Teachers College. During the summer months he worked at Eakin Novelty Works as a wood craftsman. From 1951 until his retirement in 1987 he was a teacher and principal in the Cranberry Elementary School system in Seneca, Pa.
During his time in the U.S. Army he served during the Korean Conflict from 1953-1955 as a sergeant. He also served in the 69th Infantry Division Band & Chorus performing weekly on the Arlene Francis Soldiers Parade Show. After his honorable discharge from the military he completed his Master’s Degree in education at Penn State University in 1957.
He retired to Arizona, where he enjoyed hiking in the desert. He lived there for 13 winters before moving to Grace Village Retirement Community of Winona Lake 10 years ago where he enjoyed his time until his ill health and his passing.
He is survived by his wife: Patricia Louise Sheffer, Winona Lake; three sons: Gordon (Barbara) Sheffer, Westville, Ind.; David (Kathy) West, Temperance, Mich.; Thomas West, Oil City, Pa.; daughter: Rebecca Carnes, Louisville, Ky.; nine grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; one niece and one nephew.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters.
No visitation is planned. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Grace Village Chapel, 337 Grace Village Dr., Winona Lake, and officiated by Reverend Milt Ryerson. Military rites will be conducted by the Indiana ARNG Honor Guard, the American Legion Post #49, and the VFW Post #1126 both of Warsaw. Burial will be at a later date at Brandon Cemetery in Cranberry, Pa.
Arrangements were entrusted to Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home, 225 Argonne Rd., Warsaw.
Memorials may be made to Grace Village Retirement Community, 337 Grace Village Dr., Winona Lake, IN 46590.