Merlyn Deray Eckles passed on to "Fiddlers Green" on September 9th, 2019, aged 84 years. Born on a farm near Quiby, Iowa during the Depression Era Merle knew hard work from a very early age and this ethic set the standard for his life. A man of incredibly varied experience, in his younger years Merle had been a longshoreman, stevedore, truck driver, carpet installer, drag racer, bicycle racer, farmer, jump master, machinist, young father and tractor assemblyman. But, for the majority of his life he lived in San Diego and worked over four decades for San Diego Gas & Electric, as well as serving for over 3 decades in the National Guard, US Army and US Army Reserve, retiring as a Command Sergeant Major (E-9). Merle was a staunch anti-communist and true patriot. During his service he deployed on Active Duty to Korea with the National Guard, transferred to the US Army and volunteered for and deployed on a combat tour with Special Forces in Vietnam, and even talked his way into being deployed to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm after having been retired for a few years. Eventually, he ended up in Texas with his son and granddaughter after the passing of his beloved wife, Gail, but he never got around to buying a cowboy hat.
Like all real men, Merle loved his family and his brothers-in-arms and was not afraid to say so. He loved to be helpful to those he cared about, and he cared for just about everyone he met. His investment in time, sweat and support of his son's high school marching band is legendary, as is his volunteer work with his granddaughter's elementary school. An active man with an almost British sense of humor until his end, Merle never stopped mowing, never stopped exercising, never stopped taking care of everyone around him, and never stopped loving. He did his best to make the world a better place, and as he will be long remembered by so many we can say that he succeeded.