Cover photo for Merle R. Unks's Obituary
Merle R. Unks Profile Photo
1933 Merle 2021

Merle R. Unks

February 2, 1933 — March 3, 2021

Merle Unks has had a full and fulfilling life. He grew up on Brandt School Road in Wexford, Pennsylvania. He started working when he was fifteen, delivering groceries, even though he was not old enough to qualify for a driver’s license. At eighteen, he volunteered for the United States Army and was sent across the planet to South Korea and was relieved when he was in the quartermaster core as a cook. His many stories of this period of his life always interest his son Lee because it has given him a view of the life of the extraordinary life of his father. After three years in the service, Merle began a college career on the G.I. bill as an accountant but could not complete the course because his father died after two years and he had to quit to help support his mother. Also, living on Brandt School Road, was the love of his life, Ruth Richwalls, who, when he returned from Korea was just sixteen, and they did not meet until she was eighteen where a lifelong love affair was formed. Things were not always n easy for them in the early years. The steel company for which he worked in the accounts payable office closed. He worked numerous jobs—selling lamps, working in the Heinz baby food factory. An opportunity arrived to operate a Dairy Queen on the North side of Pittsburgh. This was done by both Merle and Ruth with her parents watching their baby while they worked 12 hours a day with much driving back and forth for nine months with one car and their home twenty-five miles away . Using the Korean bonus to attend meat cutting school in Toledo, Ohio, , the family then moved to Florida where he was fortunate enough to get hired by Publix Supermarkets where he spent 33 years and retired as a manager at the age of 58. After retirement, he enjoyed his hobbies of wood working, ceramics, and oil painting. During the almost 64 years of their marriage, Merle and Ruth have traveled all over the world to almost 40 countries and islands. Some of these flights, especially to China, were 24 hours long. Their favorites were Italy and Australia. Ten square dance cruises with Jack and Ilene Lewis were included in this traveling. Merle and Ruth were square dancers for 25 years until Merle’s balance ended this activity. The twenty years spent in Linville Land Harbor in North Carolina also included square dancing, golf, and many game nights and dinner parties with friends. Most memorable and joyful for both Merle and Ruth are the years of raising their three sons, David, Gregg and Lee and getting to know their four grandchildren, Michael, Michelle, Ryan and Emily. We know you will all remember Merle as a courteous, caring husband and father and grandfather, a talented artist, and always kind to all. Thank you for coming to honor him at this event.
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