Age 91 passed away quietly in his sleep to join his Heavenly Father on Sunday, November 3, 2013 in Roseburg, Oregon. Merle was born on March 26, 1922 in Independence, Oregon, to Herman and Stella (Blanche) Rappe’. He grew up in Salem and was one of seven children. He was not able to finish school as he was needed at home to help his family. Merle was a hard worker as a young boy and this work ethic continued throughout his life. He joined the Navy December of 1940 and served his country well for six years. He was assigned to the USS Porter, a lead destroyer in WW II. He was stationed in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese, but was sent out on patrol on December 5, 1941, escaping the attack by two days. Then on October 26, 1942 while protecting the USS Enterprise in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, his ship took a direct hit in the middle by a torpedo which was fired from a Japanese submarine. The USS Shaw, another destroyer, came along side and picked up the survivors. The USS Porter sunk that day and they lost 17 sailors and one officer. Merle spoke often of his military career. He was proud to have served our country and was instrumental in the decision of two of his grandchildren following his path. After he was honorably discharged from the Navy, Merle and his brother Wilber started up their own mill. Merle then fell in love with Peggy (Wilber) Ashton and they were together in marriage for 13 years. After the dissolution of their marriage Merle raised his four children on his own. Those were not easy years. Merle worked at Sun Studs for over 30 years, running the edger and was lead sawyer. He was known for his incredible strength for a man his size. He retired at age 62 and enjoyed every moment of it. He loved to golf, tinker in his yard, attend to his flower garden and was an amazing cook. No one was a stranger to him and he was one of the most generous people you could find. For many years his family and whoever else wanted to show up would spend holidays at “Gramps” house, where everyone was comfortable and fun was always the number one priority. He will be remembered for his sense of humor that kept all of us laughing throughout the years and his streak of orneriness. He adored his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left many warm memories behind for them to treasure. His best friend and companion was his dog, Bill. They were inseparable. The last year of Merle’s life was spent with a new family that he met at Bridgewood Rivers Assisted Living. He loved living there and made friends with everyone. He was constantly helping those in need and always commented on how nice the staff was. Everyone who worked there became one of his “sweeties”. He will be missed. Merle is survived by his daughters: Karen (Steve) Prowell of Roseburg; Peggy (Mike) Taylor of Nampa, Idaho; sons: Steve Rappe’ of Glide, Oregon and Dan Rappe’ of Roseburg. He leaves behind 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Merle was preceded in death by his parents; his six siblings; his daughter, Georgene (Gina) Carson and his grandson, William (Bill) Merle Runion. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project. A memorial service will be held at Wilson’s Chapel of the Roses on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 1 p.m. Burial will follow at the VA Cemetery in Roseburg.
Merle Dewey Rappe'
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