Raymond Merritt

Raymond “Ray” Harland Merritt, age 86, passed away at his home in Prairie du Sac, WI on Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2022. He was born in Bradley, SD on Mar. 29, 1936, to the late Harland and Gertrude (Hansen) Merritt. Ray graduated from Watertown High School; class of 1954. He went on to further his education at St. Olaf College, Luther Theological Seminary and earned his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1968. Ray married LaDonna Anenson on Aug. 18, 1956, in Watertown, SD. Ray and LaDonna were blessed with 65 years of marriage.

Ray started his career in education as a history professor and later became Director of Cultural and Technological Studies at UW Milwaukee. In 1979, Ray served a two-year professorship at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Returning closer to their home in River Falls, he taught at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Ray served as Dean of the College of Social Sciences at St. Cloud State University for 12 years, retiring in 1997. Ray was a writer and a voracious reader. Over his career, Ray provided liberal arts consultation to many institutions, wrote two books, and wrote numerous grants and publications on technology and culture.

While living in River Falls, WI and Rice, MN, Ray was continually dreaming up creative projects. A home wasn’t complete without multiple workshops where he could often be found making candles, cutting glass, crafting eggshell mosaic art and labeling everything. His talent and curiosity for designing things went into his creation of the family’s home in River Falls and Ray and LaDonna’s river retreat along the Mississippi.

Ray had a love of the outdoors; planting many gardens and tending plants indoors and out. In his lifetime, he planted “at least” 1000 trees. Home was his sanctuary; he and LaDonna fed birds and chipmunks, planted glads and dahlias, and enjoyed happy hours on the deck. Ray also loved to golf; he was a member of River Falls Golf Club and Oak Hill Golf Club in Rice, MN where he played league golf. He was in his glory when he could share stories with family and friends; he and LaDonna loved to entertain and host family gatherings.

He is survived by his wife LaDonna of Prairie du Sac, WI, and his daughters, CindyRae Merritt of Hudson, WI, Michele (Lewis Dankers) Merritt of Osceola, WI, and Heidi (Dan) Halling of Prairie du Sac, WI, grandchildren, Mia DeGroote, Henry (Valerie) Halling, and Mckenzie Halling; a sister, Nadine (Dale) Larson, and many other wonderful family members and great friends.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a grandson, Merritt Dubrow.

All are welcome for a Celebration of Life at the Glen Park Pavilion in River Falls, WI on Wednesday, May 11th. A casual memorial service will take place starting at 1:00 and an Open House with food and beverages will follow.

A separate Memorial Service will take place in Wallace, SD at Telemarken Church and Cemetery. Service and inurnment will take place on Monday, May 30th at 2:00 p.m.

The family requests charitable donations be given in Ray’s memory to Holt International Adoption Agency https://support.holtinternational.org/ or Arbor Day Foundation https://shop.arborday.org/  Online condolences at hooversonfuneralhomes.com

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