Pastor Merlin K. Norris
Pastor Merlin K. Norris, 84, Lake Mills, passed away Friday, May 29, 2020 at MercyOne North Iowa, Mason City. A private family service will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Scarville, with Pastor Randy Baldwin, Pastor Joel Guttormson, and Pastor Melinda McCluskey officiating. Burial will take place in the North Prairie Lutheran Cemetery, rural Leland.The service will be streamed live on the Mittelstadt Funeral Home Facebook page beginning at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 2.In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be directed to the Good Samaritan Fund at Salem Lutheran Church, Lake Mills, or to the North Prairie Cemetery Fund c/o Roger Solomonson, Leland.
Merlin Kenneth Norris was born near Graettinger, June 15, 1935, to Martin and Edna (Bisgaard) Norris. He was baptized into the Christian faith Aug. 25, 1935 at Lost Island Lutheran Church, Graettinger. He was confirmed June 5, 1949 at the same church.
Merlin received his elementary education at a rural school in Lost Island township and in Graettinger Consolidated school, graduating from Graettinger High School in 1954. He then went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Luther College, Decorah, in 1958. Merlin received his theological degree from Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, in 1962.
On Aug. 12, 1956, Merlin was united in marriage to Marietta Zitterich, his high school sweetheart. Their marriage was blessed with three children: Barbara Renee, Rodney Ivan, and William (Bill) Fredrich.
Merlin was ordained into the Christian ministry at Lost Island Lutheran Church on June 17, 1962. “Pastor Norris” embraced his Christian calling serving the Iowa parishes of St. Donatus (St. John’s, St. Donatus, and St. Paul, Lamotte) 1962-1966; Scarville Lutheran Parish (Immanuel, Scarville and North Prairie, rural Scarville) 1966-1976; Fjeldberg Lutheran, Huxley, from 1976-1989 and Good Hope Lutheran, Titonka, from 1989-2000. His ministry expanded to the entire community in which Merlin and Marietta lived. He thoroughly enjoyed visiting with whomever he came in contact with. Merlin retired from active ministry in 2000 and he and Marietta moved to Lake Mills. He then served for many years as interim and visiting pastor for many area churches.
Merlin was known for his beautiful, well-manicured flower beds. He was proud that many of the perennials had a personal history to them. It gave him pleasure to share his flowers, whether it be the blooms or cuttings of the plant. In the winter, the downstairs became Merlin’s flower room(s), where he could take cuttings from the annual flowers of the past summer to start for the next summer’s flower beds. Another hobby would be the Scandinavian bell pulls Merlin would stitch. Marietta’s job was then to meticulously hand sew the background and the bell pulls on to finish the project.
Family and relationships were of utmost importance to Merlin. First, and foremost, was his rock and supporter, Marietta. Family reunions, birthdays, and holidays were always special and meant to be celebrated! Merlin cherished and maintained life-long friendships with numerous people. His kind, caring, accepting personality endeared him to many.
Merlin is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marietta, Lake Mills; his three children: Barb (Brian) Abele, Leland; Rod (Shellene) Norris, Lake Mills; and Bill (Sheila) Norris, Huxley; his six grandchildren” Allison (Bob) Greenfield, Lake Mills; Sarah (Nick) Kuennen, Pella; Anthony (Devan Register) Norris, Lakewood, Colo.; Ashlyn (Jerry) Morse, Storm Lake; Joshua Norris, Des Moines and Jessica Norris, Huxley; six great-grandchildren: Kenlie and Gage Greenfield; Brynn, Carew and Elle Kuennen and Everleigh Norris; a sister-in-law, Jan (Bob) Meyer; special nieces and nephews: Karyn (Troy) Leininger; Kim (Jay) Venzon; Kyle (Amee) Norris; and Kirt (Mandy) Norris; Marietta’s sister, Jeralda Arcularius, and her brother, Eldon Zitterich, as well as Marietta’s nieces and nephews.
Merlin was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Keith (1984); along with Marietta’s siblings: Merle and Lois Zit.