Cover photo for Merle Craig's Obituary
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1939 Merle 2022

Merle Craig

May 27, 1939 — October 17, 2022



Merle “Gramps” Craig, born May 27th, 1939, passed away at home on October 17th, 2022. A funeral service will be held at 11AM Saturday November 5th at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Truman. Military honors and interment following, at the Nashville Cemetery. Visitation will be November 4th from 5-7PM at Zaharia Funeral Home Truman and one hour prior to service.

He graduated from Truman High School in 1957 and enlisted in the United States Army, serving from 1957-1959. After completing his service and returning to Minnesota, on April 26th, 1959, he married his life-time love, Elna Lloyd at Brainard Baptist Church, rural Granada. He worked for Leon Oliver Farms from 1959-1968, and Truman Farmers Elevator in the John Deere set-up shop from 1968 until his retirement.

An avid baseball/softball fan, if he wasn’t playing or umpiring, he was watching from the bleachers or his recliner. He played the game for decades, coached a slow-pitch softball team with his eldest daughter, and umpired for both softball and Truman’s Little League. A self-taught, skilled woodworker who honed his craft through mistakes and experimenting, not to mention some major cuts and bruises. He was hard-working, dedicated, self-driven, and stubborn as a mule (to which his family will immediately confirm). But he had integrity. If you wanted to help him in the basement, you had to “Do it right or don’t do it at all.” He took immense pleasure in making beautifully-crafted wooden eagles, marble boards, and bean bag boards. Drive around Truman on a summer evening and you’ll likely see his handiwork for yourself. He preferred to listen and laugh rather than be in the spotlight unless bean bags were involved, a game he fell in love within his later years. (“Corn Hole” was a cursed name never to be uttered in his vicinity.) He spent the better part of the last decade traveling to tournaments all over southern Minnesota; people near and far knew Gramps, and they always looked out for him. Family gatherings were spent laughing and catching up over dinner, but as soon as bellies were nearing their limit, the familiar thump of bean bags on wood would be heard. Gramps was ready. The remaining daylight–and on a few occasions well into the night–were spent as Gramps orchestrated impromptu family tournaments, pulling a tiny notebook out of his chest pocket to write down teams and game results. He was the maestro, the leading figure, a conductor in front of his orchestra. He was in his element.

We all have but a finite amount of time on this earth. If we live well we can reflect on our successes and failures, our crowning achievements and bitter regrets and hope the scales balance in our favor so that we may finally know peace. He was a genuinely kind soul, a generous spirit that offered a hand or a dollar to anyone that asked. He mowed more lawns in his eighties alone than some of us will in our entire lifetime. Gramps may have been stubborn, but he lived life his way. As he himself said in his eleventh hour: “I lived a good life.” His woodshop may never roar with life, pellet guns may never again ring out his basement window, his records may gather dust, and his infectious laugh may slowly fade from our ears, but his love, generosity, and impact on his family, friends, and an entire town–no amount of time will wash that away.

He’s preceded in death by his grandparents; parents Melvin and Caroline (Dorendorf) Craig; sister Kathleen and brother Robert; daughter Susan and a stillborn son.

Left carrying his memory is his wife Elna; daughters Mona (Tony) Weihe and Barb Kubly (special friend Dustin); grandchildren Crystal Hotzler, Brandi (Nick) Stohs, Ben Weihe, Andy Hotzler (fiancée Debby), and Courtney Parrish (special friend Jeff); twelve great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews.

Take it easy on the angels when you throw bags, Gramps. They don’t have as much practice as you.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Merle Craig, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, November 4, 2022

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Zaharia Family Funeral and Cremation Service

102 East Ciro Street, Truman, MN 56088

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Memorial Service

Saturday, November 5, 2022

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. Paul's Lutheran Church

110 E 4th St N, Truman, MN 56088

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