Merle Evelyn Hogren was born in Tracy, Minnesota on November 21, 1935, the first-born child of Evelyn and Harry Hogren.
Merle grew up on a farm in Vesta, Minnesota and loved playing in open fields and spending time with the farm animals. She learned about God's love at Christ Lutheran Church in Cottonwood, Minnesota and was confirmed there in 1950. She graduated from Milroy High School in 1953. In 1954, she moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where she worked as a telephone operator.
In 1966, Merle and her three-year-old son Stevie took the westbound train to a new life in Los Angeles, California. She lived in Hollywood for fifteen years and worked at Peterson Publishing Company for twenty years. In the late sixties/early seventies, Merle attended church and took Steve to Sunday School at a Methodist church in Hollywood and later, to the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood (FPCH), where she embraced anew Christ's amazing Grace and became a member in 1987. She enjoyed attending FPCH's worship services and the Lamplighters class for over thirty years and volunteered with FPCH's Lord's Lighthouse ministry in its early years. Merle loved lighthouses and what they symbolize; she collected lighthouse artwork and figurines for many years, and they held special spiritual significance for her -- namely, of Christ, the Light of Life.
Merle was supportive of all her sons' pursuits and accomplishments and was also supportive in times of hardship. She really loved spending time with her family sharing stories, eating, playing games and laughing. She relished time with her grandchildren Reagan and Michael during her summer visits to Minnesota and cherished sharing loving and silly times with granddaughters Kiara and Kayla in California.
Merle was known for her friendliness â she never met a stranger. She made friends wherever she would go. She took the bus all over Los Angeles, walked or was given rides with others which gave her opportunities to meet people from many varied backgrounds. She had a special, natural gift for drawing people out, was a great listener, and enjoyed telling the stories of her loved ones and the people she met as if their stories were her own. Merle really enjoyed getting together with her friends at the mall and at with her neighbors, discussing the events of the day, the happenings in their lives -- anything under the sun! Her laughter, whenever one was around her, was contagious and full-bodied!
Merle had a special knack for choosing beautiful greeting cards to send to and touch those she loved. If you ever received a card from Merle, you opened it and received a thoughtful, loving embrace!
Merle was blessed by watching re-broadcasts of Billy Graham crusade sermons, listening to Gaither Vocal Band and classic hymns. She also reveled in the music of her all-time favorite performer, Engelbert Humperdinck!
Merle Evelyn Hogren responded to Jesus' soft, tender call and entered into His rest the evening of Tuesday November 9, passing peacefully in her sleep. In passing from this life, she is preceded by her parents and is treasured and greatly missed by her sisters, Vonnie, Patty and Jane, her brother, Gary, her sons Paul, Steve and Chris, her daughters-in-love, Nancy, Suzanne, and Shandreka, her grandchildren Kiara, Kayla, Reagan, and Michael, her sister-in-love, Dotty, her extended family and many dear friends.
Merle continues to be loved and held in her Savior's arms and in the hearts of us all. May Jesus, her Light, be our Beacon!
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