Merrill Pickett, age 80, of Preston passed away Thursday May 31, 2018 at his home.
Memorial services for Merrill Pickett will be held 2:00 P.M. Thursday June 7, 2018 at Preston United Methodist Church with Pastor Michael Smith officiating. Burial will be in the Crown Hill Cemetery following the service. Visitation will be held 5-7 P.M. on Wednesday at Preston United Methodist Church and will continue one hour prior to the service of Thursday.
Merrill F. Pickett was born September 15, 1937 in La Crosse, Wisconsin to Kenneth R. and Vivian M. (Wilder) Pickett. He attended Preston Public school, graduating in 1955.
He worked after school and on Saturdays of his junior and senior years for George Soffa Chrysler Plymouth Dealer in Preston. On October 25, 1955, Merrill joined the Navy. After basic training he attended Metalsmith school in San Diego California where he then received duty orders and was to report to the USS Hornet CVA-12. Merrill was then transferred to the USS ARD-26 in June 1958 where he served the remaining 4 years of his enlistment. After returning to Minnesota, he began work as a Body Fender Mechanic for Allan Rustad in Lanesboro and then for Coonie Young in Wykoff. Merrill reenlisted in the Navy in January 1962, serving aboard the USS Sperry AS-12 for 2 years. After his second Honorable discharge from the Navy, Merrill began working for Postier and Egges Buick Dealer in Rochester, in Body Fender Trade.
On September 4, 1964 he was united in marriage to Elizabeth (Betty) Tlougan. He moved to Conrad, Montana where he worked for Ernest Chance as a bodyman. Merrill returned to Preston and then to Red Wing working for Klitzke Bros in body fender. He then returned back to Preston and began working for the City of Preston for a total of 14 years as a Wastewater Treatment Operator. They later divorced in December 1981.
On March 20, 1985 he was united in marriage to Nancy Drury. Merrill and Nancy moved to New Mexico and together managed a low income housing complex. He then returned back to Preston where he worked for Maust Fiber Fuels, Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department as a janitor, mechanic, and also had several odd handyman jobs. He and Nancy were divorced in December 1994.
In Merrill’s younger years he loved to go hunting and fishing. He loved gardening, shaking dice with the guys at the B&B Bowling Alley, and playing Bingo. Merrill enjoyed traveling and had a love for New Mexico where he also once lived. One thing that Merrill was known for was his love for working on cars and tinkering. There wasn’t anything that Merrill couldn’t fix or make, he even made numerous large Christmas decorations for all his family to enjoy. He had remarkable penmanship and could remember any date or birthday. Merrill was very proud of his sobriety, celebrating almost 37 years. His family was his pride and joy, he loved spending time with his grandchildren whether teasing them or attending their many sporting events or plays. He was a lifelong member of the Preston United Methodist Church.
Merrill is survived by his four children: Bonnie Hahn of Gaylord, MN, Lisa Pickett of Preston, MN, Ken (Gretchen) Pickett of Stewartville, MN, and Karen Bramble of Preston, MN; 5 grandchildren: Kyle (Kimberly) Hahn, Mckenna Pickett, Brady Pickett, Tyler Bramble, and Vivian Bramble; a brother Ronald Pickett of Rochester, MN; his dog Cinnamon; and many relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, son-in-law Bryan Hahn, and a brother Jerry (Betty) Pickett.