Merlin Thomas Latare was born on the family farm on Feb. 17, 1926, to Frieda (Petersen) and Jens Latare. He passed away Jan. 7, 2020.

Upon graduation from Oxford Junction High School in 1944, he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Pacific on the USS Topeka during WWII. He married the “love of his life,” Audrey Wagner, July 29, 1950. Together they farmed until his retirement, then moved into town. During retirement, he partnered with his wife in Maitre D’ames Catering which they continued until 2009.

As a proud American serving in the Navy during WWII, his passion was researching, uncovering and sharing notable local military heroes’ feats. He served as historian for the local Wapsi Legion Post for many years and filled many other roles over the years for the Post.

As a man with a servant’s heart, he actively served in both the Oxford Junction community and St Mark’s Lutheran Church throughout his life. Serving in the Navy found him with friends around the country and satisfied a desire for travel and exploring. He looked up his Navy buddies and then became a plank owner in forming the USS Topeka Navy Reunion. Now he could connect with buddies and travel the USA.

He will be greatly missed by his wife of 69 years and daughters Kris and Dick Kroll of Florida, Kerri and Jay Carson, Troy Mills, and Karm and Jeff Williams, Delhi. They have five grandchildren: Dan (Jen)Carson and Mitch (Alissa) Carson, Eric (Jessy) Williams, Brett (Lindsey) Williams and Erin (Cam Luedtke) Williams; great-grandchildren, Haley and Kenna Williams, Wyatt and Beau Carson and Audrey Grace Carson. Also surviving are Calvin, Isaac and Savannah Pfab; brother-in-law, Ron Brinkman and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers; Norman, Melvin (Sharon) and a sister Alta Brinkman.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Oxford Junction. A visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. prior to the service also at St. Mark’s. Burial will be held at the Mayflower Cemetery in Oxford Junction where military rights will be accorded. Lahey and Dawson Funeral Home is caring for the family at this time.

Memorials may be directed to his family in his honor.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

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