Merlin Wilkins, 83, of Creston, Iowa, died Thursday, April 5, 2012, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Funeral services were held Monday, April 9, 2012, at the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Creston with Pastor Dianna Clark officiating. Burial was in the Tingley Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to First Christian Church of Creston, First Christian Church of Tingley or Southwestern Community College scholarship fund.
Merlin James Wilkins, son of Beulah (Chilcote) and James Wilkins, was born May 1, 1928, in Nevinville, Iowa. As the son of a Methodist minister, Merlin and the family moved nearly 20 times in his childhood. He graduated from high school in Myrtle Creek, Oregon, in 1945.
Merlin graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, in 1949 and attended Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He received his master of arts degree in 1976 from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri. He did post graduate work at the University of Iowa, Simpson College and Drake University.
On June 26, 1953, Merlin married Margaret E. Hirschy near Geneva, Indiana. They moved to Shannon City, Iowa where Merlin was a teacher and coach for Arispe and Shannon City schools as well as pastor of the Shannon City and Arispe Methodist Churches. In 1963, Merlin moved his family to Tingley. He taught high school English and Spanish in Mount Ayr and was also pastor of the First Christian Church in Tingley for 30 years and First Christian Church in Kellerton for 25 years. In 1983, Merlin joined the faculty of Southwestern Community College where he was head of the humanities department and taught speech and literature.
Merlin fully retired in 2000 but continued to occasionally give sermons on Sundays and officiate a number of weddings and funerals. He and Margaret enjoyed working on their yard and traveling to their grandchildren’s activities and celebrations.
Merlin is survived by his wife, Margaret Wilkins of Creston, Iowa; son, Mike Wilkins (wife Joan) of Bryant, Indiana; daughters, Marla (husband Doc) Mason of Pella, Iowa, Marcy Wilkins of Harsel, Colorado and Shelly (husband Mark) Bocianski of Wheaton, Illinois; grandchildren, Vanessa (husband Josh) Meyers, Carissa Wilkins, Lauren (husband Caleb) Pearson, Kelli, Regan, Aaron and Olivia Mason and Brandon (wife Laura), Miles and Paige Bocianski, and nieces and nephews.
Merlin was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Beatrice Johnson and Vera Mills, and two brothers, Irvin and Charlie Wilkins.