Merilou (White) Hamilton, 87, of Centerville, passed away Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 at Mercy Medical Center in Centerville.
She was born Dec. 23, 1926 in Centerville to John and Lula (Houser) White. Merilou attended Centerville schools and graduated from Centerville High School with the class of 1945. She married Ralph M. Hamilton June 2, 1945 in Des Moines and to this union five children were born: Zelda, Wayne, Willis, Zelma and Zoann.
Following high school graduation, Merilou worked for a brief period of time at McClellan’s located on the Centerville Square. Upon her marriage to Ralph, she worked diligently at raising a family, as well as daily work on the family farm. Ralph and Merilou first started their farm operation near Confidence. They later purchased land near Clarkdale and spent the next several decades farming. Merilou could often be seen working the fields on her own tractor, a 350 Farmall. Furthermore, she never hesitated to rake hay or operate the harrow.
In her early adult years Merilou was a member of the Calvary Baptist Church in Centerville. She spent several years running the youth group at the church. She took great pride in the relationships she built with the youth over the years and in fact, some of the children from the youth group would often volunteer their time working at the Hamilton family farm. Later, Merilou would become a member of the Dale Church located north of Centerville. She was an active member of the Dale Church up until her passing.
Merilou was very passionate about fishing. She had a talent for the sport of fishing and never passed up an opportunity to go fishing with family and friends. Merilou cherished her time spent teaching those around her how to fish — family, friends and neighbors could only fish with worms when they were with her. Merilou also loved cooking, especially chocolate and pumpkin pies from scratch and homemade noodles.
She is survived by her five children, Zelda (Tom) Starr of Centerville, Wayne Hamilton of Centerville, Willis (Jessie) Hamilton of Osceola, Zelma (Jerry) Fry of Sunnyvale, Texas and Zoann Willis of Rockwall, Texas; 12 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and a sister, Gladys Hamilton of Rockford, Ill.
Merilou was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Ralph; and two brothers, Norman and Leon White.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 21 at Lange Funeral Home and Crematory in Centerville with Pastor Gerald Campbell officiating. Burial will follow in the Mt. Ararat Cemetery east of Centerville on Highway 2. A visitation will be held all day today at Lange Funeral Home and Crematory with the family greeting friends from 6-8 p.m.
Memorial contributions have been designated to either the Dale Church or the Mt. Ararat Cemetery and may be given to Lange Funeral Home and Crematory, 1900 S. 18th St., Centerville, Iowa 52544.
Condolences may be shared online at www.langefh.com.