Donald Merriman


Donald R. Merriman, 98, died Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 at Sanford USD Medical Center.

A memorial service and burial with military honors will take place at a later date. Arrangements were made through the Wass Funeral Home, Beresford.

Donald Raymond Merriman was born in Lane on Nov. 12, 1920 to Ira and Clara (Brattrud) Merriman. He graduated from Woonsocket High School, and then worked for his uncle, Tony Kuborn, drilling water wells. He later moved to Yankton, where he worked for Finger Well Drilling and met Elaine Dahlin. The two were married in McCook, Neb. on October 10, 1942.

At the age of 22, he was drafted into military service. He intended to be a pilot, but upon showing a strong aptitude for math and science, he was placed into specialized training courses at the University of Alabama to become a navigator. Donald later graduated from the USAAF Advanced Navigation School in Ellington Field, Texas and was sent overseas to serve during World War II. His combat unit of the U.S. Army Air Corps was based in England, and he flew eleven missions as a navigator with the 94th Bomb Group before the war ended, and then spent time in Germany helping keep the peace before returning home to Elaine.

Don and Elaine moved to Beresford, where he started Merriman Well Drilling. Don was active in both the state and national drilling conventions. He was very active in the VFW where he served as Commander three times and as Quartermaster for twenty years. Don also served on the Beresford School Board and as a Beresford City Council member.

Don is survived by his seven children, Gloria Gunnare, Gayle (Robert) White, Dale (Judi) Merriman, Larry (Marty) Merriman, Lonnie (Linda) Merriman, Sharon Merriman, and Penny (Brian) Lansdowne; nineteen grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

Don was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Elaine; his son, Geoff, son-in-law, Cliff Gunnare; great-grandson, Joshua; two brothers, Keith and Vern Merriman; and his parents, Ira and Clara Merriman.

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