Merlyn Ludwig Gramberg was born near Wayne, Nebraska on February 26, 1937 to Ludwig Heinrich and Lucy Ann (Kester) Gramberg. Merlyn passed away peacefully on Monday, January 8th with family by his side. Merlyn spent his early years on the farm before his father was ill. The family moved to town when Merlyn was eight. As his father was bedridden, each of the 6 siblings had a job to assist with family expenses. As the youngest, Merlyn had a paper route, faithfully delivering no matter the weather. His father passed when Merlyn was 10.
Merlyn was determined to get an education. After attending Wayne High School, Merlyn enrolled at Wayne State College. There he earned his Bachelors in Industrial Arts. It's also where he met and fell in love with his one and only bride – Karleen. He couldn’t have found a better lifetime match! Both Merlyn and Karleen had a strong work ethic and together worked hard to better their lives. Merlyn went on to graduate with his Masters in Industrial Arts from Kearney State College and his Doctorate in Education from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. He had a very interesting subject for his dissertation – “Program Budgeting for Industrial Education”. While he was furthering his education, he taught high school Industrial Arts in Bellevue NE, Shell Rock IA, and Waverly IA before accepting a teaching position at Chadron State College in the fall of 1966. He was instrumental in the design of the new Industrial Arts Building now known as the Burkhiser Complex. Through his 31 years at Chadron State College, Merlyn was the Department Chair of the Industrial Arts Department, the Dean of Business and Applied Sciences, and before ending his CSC career, as Vice President of Academic Affairs. He touched so many students’ lives! It never failed when walking through an airport that Merlyn would run into someone he knew!
His retirement from Chadron State College did not mean he sat back with his feet up, sipping a toddy (altho he was known to do that too!) Together with his wife, they jumped into the rental home business and then joined their daughter and her husband in purchasing a campground. Merlyn loved to work with his hands – whatever his wife dreamed up, Merlyn would remodel or build! In addition to manual skills, many organizations benefited from his leadership skills. He was President of the Nebraska Council for Community Colleges and President of the Board of Governors for Western Nebraska Community College. Through the years, he was also involved in Kiwanis, Chadron State Booster Club and Golden Eagles.
God was very important to Merlyn. He was baptized, confirmed and married in the Lutheran Church. He faithfully took his family to church every Sunday and ensured that the Lord was a part of their lives. He served on the church council at Immanuel Lutheran Church for 12 years, and as President 3 different terms.
Merlyn loved his family very much – both his immediate and extended family! And we all loved him dearly! Not only was he a father to Robyn, Greg, Michaelle and Kandee, he and Karleen opened their home to foster children Tish and David, nieces and nephews. Merlyn always was there to listen and offer well thought out advice… and lend a hand whenever and wherever he could! He took the loss of his first grandson, Ryan, very hard but he stayed strong for his son. He mourned the loss of 2 of his brothers, a sister and a sister-in-law all in 2020.
That good ole German stubbornness kept him very independent. It was that damn snow shovel breaking his sternum that started his issues this past year. We’d like to thank the caring staff at Chadron Medical Clinic and Chadron Community Hospital, Pioneer Manor and Crest View for their devoted care.
Merlyn’s memory lives on in the hearts of the people he loved: Karleen, wife of 64 years; daughter Robyn and husband Bob Baquet of Chadron, their children Sam, Nicolle and Addison; son Greg Gramberg and wife Sue of Rapid City, their daughter Sara and husband Abe and great grandchildren Ella Ryan and Ayden, daughter Kandee and husband Norm Weddle of Rapid City, their daughters Dyllyn, Kaylee, Hannah and son Tyler; daughter Michaelle Stout of Rapid City and sons Brody and Easton, plus many nieces, nephews and good friends. Merlyn was the last sibling in his family. He was preceded in death by his parents Ludwig and Lucy, his brothers Gilbert, Kenneth, and Dale, his sisters Rodella and Joy, and his grandson Ryan.