Lawrence J. Merkner
January 19, 1940 - May 21, 2021
NEW CARLISLE - Known to all as Larry or Mr. Larry, Lawrence J. Merkner, 81, of Hudson Lake in New Carlisle, passed away from this world to join Jesus on Friday, May 21, 2021.
Larry was born on January 19, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois, to Oscar and Josephine Merkner, the oldest of two children. He graduated from Chicago Vocational High School in 1958 and then served in the U.S. Navy Reserves, being honorably discharged as a petty officer second-class after traveling aboard ship through the Panama Canal and Pacific Rim. Larry spent most of his career as a route salesman. Some might consider it apropos that he sold nuts for Fisher Nuts for 25 years.
On January 18, 1964, Larry married Helen J. Glader, who, after 52 years of marriage, preceded him in death in 2016. Larry is survived by his son, Matthew (Richard Hogue) Merkner, and daughter, Christy (Tom) Pietrzak, both of New Carlisle; five grandchildren, Holly (Mike DePriest) Merkner, David (Sydney) Pietrzak, and Stephanie (James Parrett) of LaPorte, Zoe Pietrzak of New Carlisle, and Karl (Margaret) Merkner of South Bend; three great-grandsons, Ethan, Silas, and Jacob; his sister and nephew, Judy and Brian Wojtas; and his feral cat friend of nearly 20 years. Larry was preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law Bob Wojtas, and his companion Betty Elkins.
Spending time with family and friends was extremely important to Larry. From small group church gatherings to car shows, he surrounded himself with the people he loved and plenty of old street rods. After retirement, he relished his time with his wife, but would sneak out to mow lawns or have Wednesday breakfast with the guys. He especially enjoyed lunches after church on Sundays when he'd conveniently forget whose turn it was to pay.
A faithful member of New Carlisle Wesleyan Church, Larry worked alongside his friends for the Community Reserve, providing free furniture for those in need. He also helped provide weekend meals via Food4Kids for children within the New Prairie schools. Mr. Larry dedicated nearly 15 years to mentoring students at Olive and Rolling Prairie Elementary Schools, and the New Prairie Middle and High Schools. He wanted to do good for kids, but his legacy ultimately impacted students and staff alike. He would be overjoyed if his life were to inspire others to volunteer in similar ways.
A time of visitation will be held on Monday, May 24, 2021, from 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (EST) at the New Carlisle Wesleyan Church at 32645 Early Road in New Carlisle and also Tuesday, May 25, 2021, from 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (EST) at the New Carlisle Wesleyan Church. A celebration of his life will occur on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at 5:30 p.m. (EST) at the New Carlisle Wesleyan Church, with a dinner served immediately afterwards. Please wear masks in the church out of respect for others' wellbeing.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: New Carlisle Wesleyan Church, 32645 Early Road, New Carlisle, IN 46552, or to the Center for Hospice Care, 501 Comfort Place, Mishawaka, IN 46545. Online condolences may be left at www.kaniewski.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lawrence J. Merkner, please visit our floral store.