Merril Barnhart, 97

                Merril Barnhart, 97, of Portland, OR, and formerly of Searsboro, died Sun-day, Apr. 21, 2019, in Portland.

                A visitation will be held from 9-11 a.m. on Friday, May 3, at Smith Funeral Home in Grinnell. A graveside service with military honors will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday at the Searsboro Cemetery with Pastor John Epperson, Grinnell Regional Hospice Chaplain, officiating. A reception will follow at the Searsboro Community Center.

                Memorials may be designated to the Searsboro Fire Department or Grinnell Fire Department, mailed in care of the Smith Funeral Home, PO Box 368, Grinnell, IA 50112.  Memories and condolences may be shared with the family online at www.smithfh.com. 

                Merril Philip Barnhart was born the son of Philip J. and Mary E. (Livezey) Barnhart on Jan. 18, 1922, in Searsboro. He was raised in Searsboro and attended Searsboro High School. He graduated from the Elk River High School in Elk River, MN, in 1939.

                Merril joined the United States Coast Guard in 1943 in Portland, OR, and was a Motor Machinist’s MateFirst Class. He was honorably discharged in 1945 in San Francisco, CA. He returned to Portland and was a career fireman of the Portland Fire Department, serving for over 31 years, retiring on Feb. 2, 1972.

                Merril liked to travel and he traveled to many foreign countries as well as in the United States. He liked to hunt pheasants, deer, and elk in the Northwest with his brother and friends. He liked to come back to Iowa and Minnesota to visit his sisters and their families.   

                Merril is survived by his sister-in-law Elaine Barnhart of Sequim, WA; niece, Katherine Arment of Grinnell; nephews, Douglas Barnhart of Poulsbo, WA, Dale (Cyndi) Barnhart of Sequim, WA, Dennis Watson of Searsboro, Douglas (Carol) Watson of Clear Lake, Larry (Karen) Kasheimer of Oklahoma City, OK, Kenneth (Patricia) Kasheimer of Madota Heights, MN; many great-nieces and nephews; great-great-nieces and nephews; and friends.

                Merril was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Mabel (Joe) Watson, Glema (Arthur) Kasheimer, and Lola Barnhart; brother Duane Barnhart; and his niece, Karen (Watson) Fulayter.

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