Merle Blake, age 90 of Ankeny and formerly of Perry and Audubon, passed away on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at the Mercy One Johnston Hospice in Johnston, IA. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Brayton, IA. Visitation will be on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Carris Family Funeral Home in Perry. Burial will be in the Arlington at, Audubon, IA. Memorials will be given to Merle’s family for designation at a later time and may be left at the Carris Family Funeral Home & Cremation Care.

      Merle Dean Blake was born on July 11, 1929 in Audubon County, 3rd child in family, to William and Alice (Stewart) Blake. Grew up in Adair, Guthrie and Audubon counties. He was united in marriage to Ruby Ilene Crees on February 5, 1950 in Audubon County. They recently celebrated their 70th anniversary. They settled in Dallas County, Perry area in 1954 and lived there for more than 50 years. In 2010, they relocated to Audubon.

      Employed as a farmer, when first married: hired hand for area farmers. Started with Osmundson’s Manufacturing at Perry, then John Deere in Ankeny, and finally was hired by Roy Bathel in 1963 at gas station/repair shop in Perry. In 1967, he became owner and operator of the business and operated Merle’s Super Service for 25 years. Through his years it was called Gulf & Citgo with gas going from 29.9/gal to over 4.00/gal and pumping gas at a loss just to keep customers coming in. He expanded the business to include U-Haul, Arien’s mowers, wrecker service and AAA. He sold the business in 1991 and began working for variety of other businesses. With his love of driving, he began doing Iowa deliveries for Pony Express, and then became a courtesy driver for Stew Hansen Dodge in Des Moines.

     He had a love for all things American and Iowan. He enjoyed drives through the country, college basketball and football, especially Iowa Hawkeye’s.

     They had a life changing encounter with the Lord in 1960-1961. The First Baptist Church in Perry was hosting John Carrara, a traveling evangelist. Raymond and Thelma Lane and the Carl Johnsons invited them to attend 4 different nights with Merle & Ruby giving excuses, but the Lanes wouldn't give up. Finally, Merle and Ruby consented to attend through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he was born again, and water baptized in the First Baptist Church in 1961 under the ministry of Pastor Johnny Kain. This became their home church for decades and where he served as trustee, deacon, and Sunday school teacher.

     In death he rejoins his, parents, William and Alice Blake, 3 sisters, Myrtle Heckman, Mary and Alice Blake.

     Left to cherish Merle’s memory are his wife Ruby Blake, children, Ron (Suzi) Blake, Berthoud, CO, Roxanne (Joe) Ehlers, Ankeny, IA, Rosemary (Tracey) Hildreth, Ankeny, IA, Ronda (Kim) Nyght Lake, Mary, FL and Rita (Tim) DeFord, Winterset, IA, 18 grandchildren, and 2 step-grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren.

 

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