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Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Merle by adding your memories and photos.

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Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home

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101 Gerkin
Gregory, SD 57533
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Memories & Candles

“DeEtte, I will miss visiting with Merle when I come back during pheasant season. Dad will enjoy Wild Bill's company in the Hills and I'll be...Read More »
1 of 7 | Posted by: Dick Kirsch - Post Falls, ID

“I am a co-worker of Kevin's and when he worked in Pierre, sometimes his mom and dad would stop by to visit him at the office. Many of us were so...Read More »
2 of 7 | Posted by: Vicki Murray - Pierre, SD

“I always loved talking to Uncle Merle and Aunt DeEtte when they would come and visit when I was younger and when they moved back to Colome I enjoyed...Read More »
3 of 7 | Posted by: Penny Veskrna - Aberdeen, SD

“I have been blessed to have known Merle and It was a privilege and honor to be his nurse for many years. Merle always kind and had a smile even when...Read More »
4 of 7 | Posted by: Debbie Storms - Winner, SD

“We have pheasant hunted in SD for many years with the Stenson's and always looked forward to seeing Merle. We shared many laughs over the years. He...Read More »
5 of 7 | Posted by: Nancy Slotten - Fargo, ND

“Our prayers and Sincere Sympathy to all of Merle's family. What good friends Merle and DeEtte became to our family when they moved back to Colome. ...Read More »
6 of 7 | Posted by: Marianne Thompson - Colome

“Merle was a very kind and special person. He will be dearly missed by so many. From the very first time I met him at my Grandma (Anna) Kings he...Read More »
7 of 7 | Posted by: Phyllis Meiners - Winner, SD


Merle James Elliott was born July 14, 1929 on the family farm east of Colome. His parents were Chauncey and Mary (McElroy) Elliott. Merle attended rural Saathoff School and graduated from Colome High School in 1947. He then attended college. In 1948 Merle met his future wife, DeEtte Stenson, and they married on October 8, 1950.

Merle entered the Army in 1951 and was stationed in Korea with the 25th Infantry Division. He also served with the 1st Marine Division and the Turkish Brigade. He spent eighteen months in Korea, returning to the States in 1953.

Merle and DeEtte purchased a service station in Colome which they operated for three years. Merle then returned to college at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. When he finished with his studies there he and DeEtte moved their family to California where he graduated from San Francisco College of Mortuary Science with a degree in Mortuary Science. The family then moved to Santa Cruz, CA where he became associated with a mortuary there. After ten years, he sold his interest in the mortuary and having an Associate Degree in real estate appraising, he became a real estate appraiser until his retirement in 1991. Upon his retirement he and DeEtte traveled extensively for a year before moving to the Colome area where they built their retirement home.

Merle enjoyed hunting, fishing, and traveling. While in California he and his fishing buddies would dive for abalone and fish for steelhead and salmon.

Merle and DeEtte had a family of four children, Kathleen, Lance, Kevin, and Colleen. He was the happy grandpa of three grandchildren, Mollie (Jason) Donner, Mitchell Elliott, and Alec Nickolls, and four great grandchildren, Marissa, Jacob, Madelyn, and Jack Donner.

Merle was a lifetime member of the Catholic Church having been baptized, confirmed, and married in St. Isidore's Catholic Church in Colome. He was a lifetime member of the Colome American Legion and served on the Colome Township Board for many years. Merle was a member of the California Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association and a member of the American Institute of Appraisers.

He was preceded in death by his parents, five brothers Charles, Harold, Delbert, Raymond, and Stanley, and three sisters Louise, Alma, and Darlene.

Merle is survived by his wife of 66 years DeEtte, Colome, SD; his four children Kathleen Nickolls, Reno, NV, Lance (Michelle) Elliott, Santa Cruz, CA, Kevin Elliott, Rapid City, SD, and Colleen (Ron) Conway, Minden, NV; three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Funeral services for Merle Elliott, of Colome, SD, were held Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. St. Isidore Catholic Church in Colome with Father Kevin Achbach as Celebrant. A rosary service was held Monday evening at the church.

Music was provided by Cindy Sealey, organist and Glenn Sealey, cantor. Songs were "On Eagles Wings," "I am the Bread of Life," "You Are Mine," "How Great Thou Art," and "Song of Farewell."

Anne & Brian Williams were lectors.

Altar servers were Allen McKenzie and Carleen Burger.

DeEtte Lombard and Randi Stenson were in charge of registration.

Flower attendants were Lisa Meyer and Yvette Elliott.

Urn Bearers were Veronica Cooper and Mollie Donner.

Military Honors were given by the Colome American Legion and the South Dakota National Honor Guard.

Inurnment was Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. MST at Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, SD.