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Obituaries » Merle Joseph Kaplan

Merle Joseph Kaplan

July 8, 1934 - April 7, 2018

Thursday, April 12
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Memorial Services of Iowa Funeral Home
4208 North Ankeny Blvd.
Ankeny, IA 50023
(515) 964-0592

Friday, April 13
10:30 AM

Ankeny First United Methodist Church
206 SW Walnut Street
Ankeny, IA 50023
(515) 964-4249

Friday, April 13
12:30 PM

Iowa Veterans Cemetery
34024 Veterans Memorial Drive
Van Meter, IA 50003
(515) 996-9048

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Merle Joseph Kaplan, 83, an Iowa farm boy left to meet his Lord and Savior April 7, 2018.

A funeral service will be held 10:30 a.m., Friday, April 13, 2018 at Ankeny First United Methodist Church (206 S.W. Walnut St). A visitation will be held 5:00p.m. to 7:00p.m., Thursday, April 12th at Memorial Services of Iowa funeral home (4208 N Ankeny Blvd).

Merle was born July 8, 1934 to Ed and Bessie Kaplan on their farm near Alden, Iowa. He attended a one room country school across the road from his parents’ farm. Many of the students called him “teacher’s pet” because the teacher lived with his parents.
In 1946 his parents rented out the farm and moved to Bradford, Iowa where Merle completed middle school. He then went to Hampton High School where he participated in various sports, and graduated. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Iowa State College.

The week following his graduation, on his 23rd birthday, he was drafted into the US Army where he became a supply inspector for the 18th Engineering Brigade.
Upon his return home, he went to work for The Bankers Life Company (now Principal), in the Group Claims Division, where he worked for over 30 years until his retirement as a Senior Consultant in Group Claim Special Services.

In 1960 he joined the Iowa Air National Guard. Upon receiving a direct commission, he served as a supply officer, logistics officer, and Director of Education and Training for the State of Iowa at State Headquarters, Camp Dodge, Iowa.
He retired as a Colonel from the Iowa National Guard after 33 years of service.

Merle was married to Karen Liekweg November 22, 1959. To this union 2 wonderful children were born, Kent Delos and Lisa Jean. Merle and Karen celebrated their 58th anniversary in November of 2017.

In addition to gardening he liked tending to hybrid Tea Roses. He enjoyed attending grandchildren’s athletic events, traveling many miles to watch. He liked auto racing and loved camping at the Iowa State Fair. He helped officiate races at Boone, Des Moines, and Stuart, and was very supportive of his sons and grandsons racing efforts.

He will be remembered for his infectious smile, baby blue eyes, and his witty sense of humor.

Merle is survived by his wife, Karen Kay; his children, Kent Delos (Kim) Kaplan and Lisa Jean (Traviss) Stodghill; six grandchildren, Karrson, Jarrett, and Lyddia Stodghill, and Austin, Beau, and Olivia Kaplan; 2 great-grandchildren; a sister and many friends.

Contributions may be made to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and Ankeny First United Methodist Church.

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