"Dig" was born February 1, 1922 in Dillonvale, Ohio a son of the late Albert and Jessie (Gerke) Merkel.
He was a retired engineer for Norfolk and Western Railroad. He served as a marine from 1942-1946.
"Dig" was known by his friends as an outstanding football player. "Dig" loved the Ohio State Buckeyes, the New York Yankees, John Wayne and raisin filled cookies. He was a gentle man who loved everybody and a dedicated father.
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his wife, Jean Hayes Merkel (1986); son, Barry (in 1977); three brothers, Clarence "Lefty," Albert "Bud," George "Bunk;" three sisters, Clara Krumlaug, Elsie Yanda, and Gertrude Cesare.
Surviving are three daughters, Vickie Kelly, Christine (Michael) Blazenski, Jacki Hicks; grandchildren, Ron (Julie) Kendle, Lori Kendle, Marci Jarman, Justin (Renee) Blazeski, Leah (Brett) Ripley, Stephen (Katie) HIcks, Gina HIcks; seven great-grandchildren; a brother, Edward "Bill" Berkel of Worthington, Ohio; a sister, Beatrice "Bittie" (Edward) Finney of Arizona.
A private service will be held at the convenience of the family with Rev. Rob Yanok officiating.
Burial will be in Holly Memorial Gardens, Pleasant Grove, Ohio.