Merlin Henry Rathman
Merlin Henry Rathman, age 94, of Wood River, died Thursday, January 3, 2019, at Good Samaritan Village in Grand Island with family by his side. Services were held Wednesday, January 9, at First United Methodist Church, Wood River, with the Reverend Trudy Hanke and Pastor Darrel Holzinger officiating. Burial was in the Wood River Cemetery, Wood River. Memorials are suggested to Wood River Foundation and the First United Methodist Church in Wood River. Apfel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be directed to the family at www.apfelfuneralhome.com. Merlin was born September 24, 1924, at a farm home south of Alda to Herman and Mamie (Seier) Rathman. He received his education from Rural School District #12 by Alda, District #44, District #63 by Wood River and Wood River High School. He served in the United States Army during World War II from 1945- 1946 in the 163rd Infantry Regiment. He arrived at Manila Bay, Philippines, on V-Day and served as Staff Sergeant for the Supply Division in Korea for one year. On December 24, 1949, he was united in marriage to Maxine D. Finck at the Methodist Church in Grand Island. They recently celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary. The couple made their home on a farm northeast of Wood River their entire life where they raised five children. Merlin produced corn, wheat, soybeans and cattle during his lifetime. Merlin was a member of the Wood River American Legion, The Platt-Duetsche Society, Liederkranz, Eagles, The First United Methodist Church, Wood River Country Club, and Lochland Country Club. He served on the Wood River Rural Fire Board 30 years. His interests and activities included playing baseball at Wood River, Alda and Bluff Center, golfing (making two holes-in-one at Lochland and golfed his age numerous times), hunting, fishing, pool, horseshoes, traveling, breakfast at the round table, playing numerous card games and he also loved dancing and listening to polkas (especially Molly B). He was an avid fan of Wood River Rural High School activities. Left to cherish his memories are his wife, Maxine; children, Sherryl (Greg) Gannon, of Wood River, Lynette (Gerald) Koelzer, of Wood River, Jolene (Bruce) Bergman, of Leavenworth, Kansas, LuCinda (Robert) Ostransky, of LaRue, Texas, and Doyle (Carrie) Rathman, of Wood River; grandchildren/great-grandchildren, Ryan and Shanna Gannon, of Shelton, (Elizabeth, Grant, Ben and Riley), Andrea and Kevin Johnson, of Kearney, (Allie, Kaitlyn, Lauren and Kasey), Tyler Gannon, of Wood River, Kirby and Sunny Koch, of Avon, Colorado, Kris and Anne Koelzer, of O’Neill, (John), Lindsey and Reid Stephens, of Ridgecrest, California, (Trinity, Charity and Faith), Ashley and Trey Ragno, of Accra, Ghana, in Africa (Anthony, Ariana and Avery), Kimberly and Brian Kuhl, of Lincoln, (Emmet, Callahan and Lennox), John and Ann Ostransky, of Lincoln, (Shane and Lena), Steve Ostransky, of Lincoln, (Mack), Kelsey and Adam Maas, of Blair, Hannah Rathman, of Kansas City, Missouri, Trey Rathman, of Wood River, and Aubrey Niemoth, of Omaha; brothers, Elton Rathman, of Grand Island, and Delbert (Jan) Rathman, of Wood River; sisters, Eunetta Schoneberg, of Grand Island, and Emogene Veeder, of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas; sister-in-law, Janice Rathman-Powell, of Grand Island; brother-inlaw, Lester Harvey Finck, of Grand Island; and numerous nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Mamie (Seier) Rathman; brother, Jerome Rathman; infant sister, LaVonne Rathman; sisters-in-law, Vera Rathman and Sally Finck; brothers-in-law, Robert Veeder and Ben Schoneberg; and son-in-law, Larry Koch.