James Merchen Profile Photo
1939 James 2021

James Merchen

July 19, 1939 — June 4, 2021



July 19, 1939--June 4, 2021

James L. Merchen, 81, passed away Friday, June 4, 2021, at his home south of Norris, SD.  Visitation will be Wed. June 9, from 5-7 pm at the funeral home in Martin.  Funeral services will be held Thurs. June 10, at 10 am MT at the American Legion Hall in Martin on Highway 18.  Interment will be at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis at 2:30 pm.

Jim was born July 19, 1939, to James Edward and Margaret Ellen (Gibson) Merchen at Vetal, SD.  He was the 4th of nine children.  He attended country school thru the eighth grade.  Afterwards, he worked for local farmers in the area.

In 1958, he moved to Pierre and went to work on the Oahe Dam as a concrete finisher.  On. Nov. 3, 1962, he married Luella Heckenlaible in Highmore, SD and they had one child.  They divorced many years later.

He was drafted into the Army in Feb. 1963 and spent most of the next two years in Munich, Germany.  He returned to the states in Feb. 1965 and worked at Mueller Feeds in Martin for some time until they moved to Deadwood where he was employed at the Homestake Mine.  He worked there from 1966 until he retired in 1999.

After retirement, he returned to the family farm to manage it for his mother, later purchasing it from her along with his brother Clayton as partners.

He is survived by his daughter, Sherry (Chris) Aldridge of Rapid City; 3 grandchildren, Wade and Clint Leatherman both of Sturgis; and Whitney (Michael) Zylstra of White, SD; and three great grandchildren; four brothers, Lynn (Audrey) of Newcastle, Wyo; Clayton, Norris, Ralph (Susan) of Custer, Lawrence of Sturgis, and 2 sisters, Margaret Pike and Kathy Merchen, both of Denver, Co.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Frank, sister Florence, and infant brother Eldon, and sisters-in-law Sheila Merchen and Jean Merchen.

Bennett County Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Merchen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Bennett County Funeral Service

211 Main St, Martin, SD 57551

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Funeral Service

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Martin American Legion

, Martin, SD 57551

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