Just as the sun was setting on August 28, 2020, our loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Merlin J Stephenson, 91, followed suit and was welcomed into the arms of his mother, father and six siblings as well as a son-in-law and daughter-in-law. Though it is hard for us to let him go, we know he celebrates on the other side with loved ones he has yearned to see once again. His beloved wife, Marlene and their children lovingly surrounded him as he took his first pain-free steps into the light.
Merlin was born in Levan, Utah on May 8, 1929, to Fred Stephenson and Abbie Christensen Stephenson. He was the sixth of seven children. He was a proud Class of ’47 graduate of Juab High School and whenever we drove through Nephi, we knew we would be listening to Dad sing the Juab Fight Song. He also played on the All-Star Baseball team in Levan growing up. Merlin met the love of his life, Marlene, and they were married in the Manti Temple, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on July 9, 1951. The local paper announced the happy occasion with an article titled Levan Man Marries Moroni Miss. Shortly after they were married Merlin served in the Korean War and was away for a year fighting with the U.S. Army.
Dedication is the word that best describes Dad. He worked three jobs most of our growing up lives yet never missed a performance, game, or birthday party. He made sure we had a vacation every summer and tirelessly took us camping, to drive-in movies and sleigh riding. His yard and garden were always immaculate, and he grew the best corn around. He was self-reliant doing home and auto repairs and keeping his garage clean, organized, and always had room for his cars. His grooming and personal appearance was important even when looking your best wasn’t popular. He had a great sense of humor and loved to tease all of his kids and grandkids.
His 32 years of service to the Army Reserves and to the Post Office taught us to work hard and to be diligent in all we do. His evenings spent cutting hair in our basement barbershop was another example of his endless work ethic.
Merlin was awarded the Legion of Merit Award on July 27, 1982 for his exceptional conduct and performance of outstanding services in the U.S. Army.
Dad’s love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the scriptures is a legacy he leaves behind for us to follow. He spent most of his church service in missionary roles; he was also a great Cubmaster and High Priest Group Leader. He was a dedicated home teacher and good friend to everyone he met. Merlin and Marlene served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for nine years in Salt Lake City working in Member Locator Services.
Merlin is preceded in death by his parents; and all six siblings: Theo Abbie Gee, Melba Ballow, Quentin Stephenson, DeVon Stephenson, Fonda Hansen, and Anna Mae Downey. Also, Cal Reuel Call and Laurine Stratton Stephenson.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Marlene Fay Stephenson. Also, his children and their families: Lori Ann Call and children Skyler J (Janelle) Call, Landon Jazz (Ashley) Call, Lacey Jade (Jake) Freeman, Blaze Ryan (Kelsey) Call. Craig Morley (Wendy) Stephenson. Shannon Lee (Larry) Thayn and their children Carson Kenneth Thayn, and Jack Edward Thayn. He also has eight great-grandchildren who love him very much.
Services will be held Thursday, September 3, at McDougal Funeral Home, 4330 South Redwood Rd, Taylorsville, UT 84123. Viewing from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. and funeral at 11:00 a.m. Interment following at Utah Veteran’s Cemetery and Memorial Park, 17111 South 1700 West, Bluffdale, Utah. Masks will be required at the viewing and funeral.
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