Celebrating the life of Merle Reisenbigler
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MERLE REISENBIGLER, 83, of Morrison, IL, died Thursday, November 3, 2022, at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, IL.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 AM, Saturday, November 12, 2022, at Ebenezer Reformed Church in Morrison, Rev. J.T. Bean, Pastor, officiating. Visitation will be 4:00-7:00 PM, Friday, November 11, 2022, at the Morrison Chapel of Bosma-Renkes Funeral Home. A graveside service will be at 2:30 PM, Saturday, November 12, 2022, at Fenton Cemetery in Fenton, IL.
Merle was born July 10, 1939, in Moline, IL, to Clifford M. and Ada E. (Burns) Reisenbigler. In Merle’s first grade scrapbook his mother noted: “Merle seems to like school, but ‘fun’ is the main thing”—and that never changed.
Merle was educated at Valley Grade School, Fenton Grade School and was a 1957 graduate of Erie High School. He married Sharon Wierema on July 15, 1960, in Fenton, IL, which he thought was one of his best decisions. Merle was first employed by East End Texaco in Morrison while also cleaning and maintaining school buses for R.C. Smith Transportation. He felt privileged to work for R.C. Smith, his boss, mentor, and friend. He then worked as a License Investigator for Secretary of State Paul Powell (he did not receive any money from the shoe boxes). Merle worked for 20 years as Manager at R.C. Smith Transportation. In 1985, he and Sharon purchased the business. In 2010, the business was sold to their son Dale.
When Merle contracted polio in 1953, he spent several months in Moline Public Hospital where he made friends with the nurses. He thought of himself as “one of the lucky ones” to survive polio. Polio never defined Merle. He sought adventure whether on a snowmobile, bike, boat, or hot air balloon. He loved going to the Whiteside County Fair (once shaking hands with President Obama) and spending much time in the horse barn. Clydesdales were his favorite horses. In 2007, he was chosen Friend of the Fair. Merle volunteered at Morrison’s Annual Paint the Town/Harvest Hammer.
Merle LOVED attending Ebenezer Reformed Church where he served on the Endowment Fund Committee and in several other capacities. Merle was a member of the Morrison Rotary Club where he was a three-time Paul Harris Fellow. He served as Clerk on the Mt. Pleasant Township board for 35 years. Since inception, Merle was a member of the Morrison Area Development Corporation (MADC). He served on the board of Wells Fargo Bank. Merle was one of the founding members of the young men’s Drifters Rod and Custom Club.
Survivors include his loving wife, Sharon; one son, Dale (Jody) Reisenbigler of Morrison, IL; one daughter, Susie (Scott Deaner) Reisenbigler of Houston, TX; Kid #3, Mike Allen and his mother, Pepi; two grandchildren, Maddison and Bailee Tucker; two sisters; Mary Jo (Ernest) Verhulst of St. Peters, MO and Connie (Ken) Lewis of Eau Claire, WI; one brother, John (Linda) Reisenbigler of Fenton, IL; four nephews and three nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Merle’s memory to Ebenezer Reformed Church or Morrison Rotary Club Polio Foundation.
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404 Lincolnway East
Morrison, IL 61270
309 E. Park Street
Morrison, IL 61270
Fenton, IL 61251