Funeral Service for Merle J. Clark, 80, of Marmarth, N.D. were held Nov. 19, 2018 at Stevenson Funeral Home, Baker, Mont. Burial followed at Riverside Cemetery, Marmarth, N.D.
Merle passed away Nov. 13, 2018 in Billings, Mont., surrounded by his family.
Merle J. Clark was born Dec. 5, 1937 in Miles City, Mont., the son of Elmer and Margarette (White) Clark. He entered this world with a heart of a lion, at only 2 lbs, 2 oz. He grew up on the family ranch and attended grades 1-4 at Marmarth, grades 5-8 at Pretty Butte Country School, and grades 9-12 at Miles City, Mont.; graduating from Custer County High School with the class of 1956. Merle went on to attend and graduate from Western College of Auctioneering in Billings in 1958. After serving with the Miles City National Guard from 1963-1969, Merle returned home to the ranch while continuing serving in the guards. On Nov. 8, 1967, Merle and Linda Dyba were united in marriage in Miles City. The couple was blessed with two children: Ward and Christy. The couple returned to the ranch and have made it their home ever since.
Merle owned and operated Clark Auction Service for 50 years. He was a rodeo participant competing as prize winning bareback rider from 1954-1968. He eventually moved into the role of rodeo announcer for the tri-state area for over 40 years.
Merle was an amateur paleontologist and an avid historian; spending his life learning from the past. He loved collecting old cars and created countless leather works. He loved people and possessed an uncanny ability to recite history and to tell stories; stories that would bring knowledge and an abundance of humor into any conversation. Merle never met a stranger. He was ageless. He had a lot to give, while asking for very little in return. He could take the Bible and reflect on a verse for any “mishap” life may have dealt. Psalm 23 was his favorite. Merle loved living on the ranch, caring for his cattle, and getting together with his neighbors. He influenced several generations of young men throughout the area and left behind countless “best friends”.
Merle had a passion for serving his family and community. He was a loyal friend of FFA, serving as Chapter President from 1955-1956, and State Secretary from 1956-1957. He received the Montana American Farmer Award in 1958, American Farmer Degree, ND Historical Society Local Historian of the Year and Cowboy Moments Award. Merle was a charter member of Little Missouri Saddle Club, and the Marmarth Historical Society. He served on the board of directors for many organizations including the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, Little Missouri River Commission, Slope County Commission for 11 years, Social Services Welfare Board, and was president of the Marmarth School Board. He was also a trustee of the ND Cowboy Hall of Fame, Mystic Theater Cowboy Poetry, and was a founding member of the Marmarth Bible Church.
Merle is survived by his wife, Linda; son, Ward of Marmarth; daughter, Christy (Troy) O’Connor of Billings; and grandchildren, Ryan Clark, Mason Clark, Adisyn O’Connor and Ella O’Connor.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
“I believe I served my God, my country, my family and my community well”. -Merle Clark.
Dad, we are humbled to call you our husband, father and grandfather. -YOUR family.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at www.stevensonfuneralhome.com.