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Merlin Holden Dade City, Fla.

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014 11:21 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 10:20 a.m. CST

Merlin “Fireball” Darrell Holden, 78, of Dade City, FL, passed away at home on August 10, 2014.

He was born in Osceola, IA, on October 22, 1935, to Guy and Louise Holden—the second of four children. He graduated from Osceola High School in 1953. Merlin married Nancy Anne McNees on February 3, 1957. He joined the US Navy in 1957 and achieved the rank of Chief Aviation Electronics Technician. Merlin, Nancy, and their four daughters traveled the country (TN, TX, MD, FL, CA, VA, IA, and Washington, D.C.) for 20 years until he retired in 1976. He, Nancy, and their two youngest daughters moved to Osceola, IA, in 1976. He and Nancy moved to Dade City, FL in 1994.

Merlin was affectionately called “Fireball” by his friends—a nickname acquired in his youth. He was called “Chief” or “Red” by his fellow sailors. He was called “Dad” or “Pops” by his daughters. He was lovingly called “Papa” by his grandchildren. Merlin was fond of the saying “If I had known grandchildren were so much fun I would have had them first.” He enjoyed singing “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof along with the family. He was known to get up early on Christmas Day and open his presents before everyone else was awake. Merlin was technologically savvy, building a TV component by component and networking/rebuilding/upgrading his home computers.

Merlin is survived by his wife Nancy; daughters Cathy Parker, Julie Boswell, Cindy Holden, and Rebecca Loew; grandchildren Richard (Angela) Parker, Brandon (Shannon) Mateer, Lauren Wiejak, Sarah Loew, Ayron Loew, Dylan Loew, and Breanna Boswell. He is also survived by several great grandchildren, with another on the way.

He was preceded in death by his father, mother, brother, sister, son-in-law Bobby Parker, grandson Jesse Parker, and step grandson Chris Boswell. At his request, Merlin was cremated and no memorial service was held.

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