James Merchen

Funeral services for 81-year old James Merchen are Thurs, June 10, at 10 am MT at the American Legion Hall in Martin, SD, on Highway 18.  

Interment will follow at 2:30 PM at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, SD.

Visitation is Wed, June 9, from 5-7 pm at Bennett County Funeral Service in Martin.  

James Lyle Merchen was born July 19, 1939, to James Edward and Margaret Ellen (Gibson) Merchen at Vetal, SD, the fourth of 9 children. He passed away June 4, 2021, at his home south of Norris, S.D.   

Jim attended country school through the eighth grade.  Afterwards, he worked for local farmers in the area. In 1958, he moved to Pierre and went to work on the Oahe Dam as a concrete finisher. 

Jim married Luella Heckenlaible on Nov 3, 1962, in Highmore, SD and they had one child.  They divorced many years later.

Jim was drafted into the Army in Feb 1963 and spent most of the next two years in Munich, Germany.  He returned in Feb 1965 and worked at Mueller Feeds in Martin before moving to Deadwood in 1966 to work at the Homestake Mine, where he remained until retiring in 1999. 

After retirement, Jim returned to the family farm to manage it for his mother. He later partnered with his brother Clayton to purchase the ranch from her.

Jim is survived by his daughter, Sherry (Chris) Aldridge of Rapid City; 3 grandchildren, Wade and Clint Leatherman both of Sturgis; and Whitney (Michael) Zylstra of White, SD; and three great grandchildren; four brothers, Lynn (Audrey) of Newcastle, Wyo; Clayton, Norris, Ralph (Susan) of Custer, Lawrence of Sturgis, and 2 sisters, Margaret Pike and Kathy Merchen, both of Denver, Co.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Frank, sister Florence, and infant brother Eldon, and sisters-in-law Sheila Merchen and Jean Merchen.

Bennett County Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.