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Merlin J. Hoiness


Tue, Dec 24th, 2013
Posted in Harmony Obituaries

Merlin J. Hoiness, 96, of Harmony, Minn. died Thursday, December 19th at Harmony Health Care in Harmony.

Merlin was born November 3, 1917, in Harmony to Edward and Jane Hoiness. He was raised in the Harmony area and attended Harmony High School. On May 14, 1941 Merlin was united in marriage with Zola Bates at the Methodist Church in Decorah, Iowa.

In 1936, Merlin along with some of his brothers worked at the Creamery and Locker Plant that his Father started in Harmony. Merlin processed beef and was a buttermaker. In the early 1950’s Merlin developed and sold a frozen food product called “Harmony Brand pre-cooked Meatballs in brown gravy”, which he sold to grocery stores and restaurants in southeastern Minnesota. After the Creamery was sold, Merlin worked in Harold Johnson’s grocery store and his own grocery store until it was sold in 1965. In 1965, he along with his friend Bill Peterson, built and patented a portable ice fishing shelter and convinced the Harmony EDA to build a manufacturing plant. Merlin became a purchasing agent for several years. The ice fishing shelter was manufactured along with other items and evolved into the beginning of HECO which still operates today. In 1975, Merlin managed the Harmony IGA store with his son Jim. He retired from the store in 1981 and started Norsland Lefse with the help of Zola and son Phillip. They made and sold Norsland Lefse all over the United States. Norsland was sold and still operates today in Rushford, Minn. Merlin then went on to giving Amish Tours in the Harmony area. He really enjoyed giving tours to people from around the world, including the King and Queen of Jordan, Helmut Schmidt of West Germany and a Prime Minister of India. Merlin was also a successful author of “91 Ways to Serve Lefse” which sold over 40,000 copies.

Merlin loved his family, worked hard to improve his hometown and served his Church in various jobs over the years. Merlin is survived by his wife Zola; four children: Robert (Sydne) Hoiness of Las Vegas, Nevada; Kathy Boice, Harmony; Jim (Gayle) Hoiness, Rushford; Phillip (Chris Badger) Hoiness, Harmony; seven grandchildren; four step grandchildren; fourteen great grandchildren; brother in law, Manville (Alta) Bates; Sisters Lillian Turner and Muriel Waage; sisters in law Edyth Wood and Helen Scheevel.

Merlin was preceeded in death by his parents, six brothers, two sisters and son-in-law Robert Boice.

A Celebration of life service will be held January 2nd at the United Methodist Church in Harmony. Visitation one hour prior to service.

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