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Merle O’Neall Murray

Merle Anne O’Neall, daughter of Maurice and Lois (Hatfield) Lillard was born April 12, 1927 near LeRoy, Iowa and passed from this life on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at Afton Care Center in Afton, Iowa at 86 years of age.

Merle Anne (Myrt as she was known to many) grew up near Hopeville, Iowa, receiving her education in Clarke County country schools and Murray High School.

On August 27, 1943, she was united in marriage to Dale Rex O’Neall in Osceola, Iowa. A union that lasted nearly 70 years and was blessed with one daughter, Pennie Lynn.

Merle always commented that she loved to work. She hung wallpaper, painted, refinished furniture; sewed most of her own clothes as well as Pennie’s; gardened; worked at Snowden’s in Osceola and was the Office Manager for Union Gas (in both Lorimor and Osceola) and finally worked for many years at the Murray Café as cashier. This was a job she loved most of all as she truly enjoyed greeting all the many people she met while working there.

Merle and Dale were avid collectors, enjoying auctions and flea markets. They truly loved the “thrill of the hunt” for the “special finds” for their numerous collections. 

Merle loved music and never lost her desire to dance. She was known as “dance instructor” to many neighborhood kids over the years and created many lifelong memories for them.

Merle’s health failed drastically in the last few months and she spent that time at the Afton Care Center where she was cared for with a great deal of kindness and compassion. She made many new friends with both the staff and residents. We will be forever grateful for the time we spent there.

Merle was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Dale in 2012 and son-in-law, Gary Gonseth in 2000.

She leaves to cherish her memory, her daughter, Pennie and husband, Ken Cheers of Afton, Iowa; granddaughter Jodie Greig (husband Joe) and children. Taylor and Clayton Greig of Estherville, Iowa; grandson, John Gonseth (wife Becky) and children, Madison Gonseth and Brooke Hoffman of Murray, Iowa; Cole and Tara Page and children, Cadin, Mallory, and Caleb of Murray, Iowa and Cass Page and Chelsea Rydl of Osceola, Iowa as well as many other relatives and many friends.

Funeral services will be 11:00 am, Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at Kale Funeral Home.  Cremation will follow the services and burial will be in the Murray Cemetery at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Afton Care Center Auxiliary.

Online condolences may be directed to the family at www.kalefuneralhome.com.

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