Obit: Natzke, Myrtle Minnie (1913 - 2007)
Poster: Crystal Wendt

Surnames: Natzke, Rudine, Henson, Zoellner, Hamlin, Schafer, Zielinski, Dreie, Ross, Patten, Thomas

---Source: Foto News (Merrill, Lincoln Co., Wis.) Wednesday, 21 Nov. 2007; Page 9

---Natzke, Myrtle Minnie (25 Mar. 1913 – 17 Nov. 2007)

Myrtle M. Natzke

Myrtle Minnie Natzke was born March 25, 1913, in Rapid City, S.D. to Russell and Minnie Rudine Henson, and died at Bell Tower Residence in Merrill on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007.

Myrtle's mother pass¬ed away when she was six years old. Her father, who worked for the railroad, moved his family to Merrill in 1924. He later married Alma Patten, who raised Myrtle and her brother Royal.

After graduating from Merrill High School, Myrtle attended the Lincoln County Teachers College. Her first teaching job was at the one-room Finn School in the Town of Pine River. In 1934 she married George A. Natzke and they raised five children.

In 1954, Myrtle returned to teaching and taught at the Hartwig School in the Town of Pine River, and later at the Scott School west of Merrill until retiring in 1972. While teaching school and raising a family, she returned to college and received her bachelor's degree in education from Stevens Point State College in 1959. She was proud of her ability to get her first grade students off to a good start, even though many of them never had the advantage of kindergarten or other preschool programs. She especially enjoyed taking her students to the school forest. Myrtle made a great number of lifelong friends during her teaching career and was frequently remembered by her students decades after she had been their teacher. After retiring, Myrtle became a dedicated and founding member of the Merrill Historical Society and managed the Brickyard School Museum at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds for many years. She was also instrumental in preserving many of the historical buildings in the Merrill area, including the Lincoln County Courthouse and the Merrill City Hall. Myrtle was a longtime member of St. John Lutheran Church, Merrill, where she was active in various church organizations.

She is survived by her children James (Bonnie), Des Moines, Iowa; Gerald (Nancy), Irma; Carol (Greg) Zoellner, Merrill; Sandra Hamlin, Albuquerque, N.M.; and George R. (Nancy), Lodi; grandchildren Kelly (Dirk) Schafer, Jay (Nicole) Natzke, Jeffry (Laurie) Natzke, Juli Natzke, Jodi Natzke, Joel Natzke, Kim (Bob) Zielinski, Douglas Kreie, Marnie (Tom) Ross and Brad (Michele) Hamlin; 16 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandson. She is also survived by nieces, nephews and other relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents; her stepmothers Alma Patten Henson and Esther Thomas Henson; her husband George, who died Feb. 25, 2004; her brother and sister-in-law Royal and Marie Henson; and her sister Gladys and brother Leonard, who both died in childhood.

Funeral services were Wednesday, Nov. 21, at St. John Lutheran Church, Merrill. The Waid Funeral Home, Merrill, served the family. Memorials are suggested to Friends of the Merrill School Forest, the Brickyard School Museum or Bell Tower Residence, all in Merrill. The family wishes to thank the Sisters of the Holy Cross and the staff at Bell Tower Residence for the care and compassion shown Myrtle while she resided there.


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