HUNTLEY – Merlin “Mert” Hatcher, 91, passed away peacefully at sunrise on Jan. 16, 2018, after a brief, noble and extremely brave battle with cancer.
Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, at the Colyer Funeral Home Chapel with Deacon Rollie Raboin and Pastor Don Mathis officiating. Cremation has taken place.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Colyer Funeral Home and friends may send their condolences to the family at www.colyerfuneralhome.com .
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made to the American Cancer Society in Mert’s honor.
Mert was born Nov. 2, 1926, on a farm near Thurman, Iowa. Mert was the eighth of 11 children of Charles and Rosa Ella Hatcher. When he was 14, his father retired from farming and moved the family to Council Bluffs, Iowa.
In his 20s and 30s, Mert was an adventurous soul and developed a deep passion for writing and a life-time fascination with the “wild west.” He reveled in the excitement of learning new skills through the many diverse jobs he held as he traveled extensively; visiting Canada, Mexico, and 26 of 50 states.
In 1963 Mert “settled down” in Omaha, Neb., and started a family when he married Anna May “Annie” Miracky. Over the next 15 years he worked for Weyerhaeuser and served as an elected local union officer. In 1978 Mert moved his family to Huntley. Once there, he and Annie established the modest “Yellow Bird Ranch” and kicked off a successful steam cleaning and janitorial business, which they operated until retiring in 1995. Mert then turned his attention to his love for writing and western folklore. He soon became a published author, writing poems for The Wyoming Rural Electric News Magazine. He went on to meticulously research and pen three historically-accurate western novels; all of which were published between 2004 and 2008. Family and friends have said Mert will be remembered as “a likable scallywag,” “a character,” “having a remarkable sense of humor,” “a joker and teaser,” “an exceptional person,” and “the Hatcher Godfather.”
Mert is survived by his wife, Anna May; children Rebecca Hatcher-Pankratz, Brian Hatcher, Robin Hatcher-McCready; 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his 10 siblings, son Jack and daughter Carol.