November 22, 1935 - March 5, 2022
Merlin Smits, 86, passed away on Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He was born November 22,1935 in DePere, Wisconsin to Peter and Hattie (Henrietta VanDenElzen) Smits. Merlin was born at home on the farm; delivered right into his father’s arms. When the doctor finally arrived, Peter told the doctor not to charge him as he did all the work. The fourth of eight children, Merlin attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in DePere where he first met his future wife. After dating for a few years, Merlin married the love of his life, Junella Brys, on November 22, 1955. Together they raised five beautiful children, Anthony, Debra, Martin, Bryan, and Rodney. Merlin supported the family working hard as a farm hand, an iron worker, and in construction. He retired as a crane mechanic. Merlin was a strong member of the community. As part of the Knights of Columbus, Merlin rose through the ranks and became a Deputy Grand Knight and Grand Knight. From 1968-1980, Merlin and Junella opened their hearts and home to over 250 foster children, providing emergency housing until the children could be placed in permanent homes. He and Junella remained strong in their faith as members of the Catholic Church, attending services wherever they traveled. In retirement, Merlin and Junella traveled all over the world: Germany, Jamaica, Bahamas, Israel. In their beloved RV, they traveled to 49 states and all of the Canadian Provinces. For 18 years, they lived in Yuma, AZ enjoying the desert life after so many Wisconsin winters. Merlin was preceded in death by his sons: Tony, Marty; parents Peter and Hattie; in-laws Delores and Gerard Brys; brothers: Harry, Roland, Eddie; brothers and sisters-in-law: Ervin Heim, Hank Heezen, Lynn Smits; Gloria, Priscilla, Lyle, and Sue Brys; son-in-law: Thomas Deer; granddaughter: Terri Jo Ascher. Merlin is survived by his wife of 66 years: Junella, three children: Debbie (Deer), Bryan and Lisa Smits, Rodney (Racer) and Ann (Wheelz) Smits; daughters-in-law: Rita, Sharon; brothers and sisters: Florence Heim, Rosie (Lyle) Mangin, LaVerne Heezen, Roger (Rita) Smits; brothers-in-law: Delton (Sue), Daryl, Delford (Pia) Brys; sisters-in-law: Genevive and Hazel Smits; grandchildren: Mark Smits, Everesta (Alex) Hannon, Merlin (Melody) Smits, Joseph (Heidi) Smits, Rochelle (TJ) Seeman; Rebecca (Brian) Phillips, Amanda (Sam Trones) Deer; Thomas Smits; great-grandchildren: Josiah and Desmond Smits, Annabelle Smits, Zoey and Austin Seeman, Brady and Elizabeth Phillips, Jackson and Natalie Trones. Visitation will take place on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 4805 Sportsman Dr., DePere, WI, from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services at 11:00 a.m., with Fr. Matthew Faucett officiating. Malcore Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Merlin Smits, 86, passed away on Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He was born November 22,1935 in DePere, Wisconsin to Peter and Hattie (Henrietta VanDenElzen) Smits. Merlin was born at home on the farm; delivered right into... View Obituary & Service Information
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