Merle DeWayne Bergey, 85, of Harmony, died on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, at his home.

He was born in Harmony on Oct. 9, 1927, the oldest son of Glen and Gladys (Evenson) Bergey. His first years were spent near Lanesboro, where he attended Dirken and O'Hara Schools. In the seventh grade he attended Canton Schools and graduated in 1945. After graduation, he attended one year of Business College in Winona.

In 1948, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and took his basic training at Fort Knox, Ky. He spent 18 months in Germany with the First Infantry Division.

He returned to the United States in 1950 and started farming.

On Nov. 16, 1951, he married Eloise Thompson in Harmony.

From 1960 to 1965, he worked with Nels Johnson Construction Company of Winona, where he assisted in the construction of several buildings at Luther College and the University of Wisconsin, Platteville.

In the spring of 1965, he returned to his occupation of choice, farming on the family's dairy farm, where he and his wife continued to live, raising their seven children.

He was a kind and loving husband, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa and brother. He leaves his family with many cherished memories, including his values of common sense, unconditional love and being a good neighbor.

He was a lifetime member of the Henrytown Lutheran Church, the Paul Blegen Post 400 Legion and served several years as a 4-H leader.

Along with his dedication to caring for the land and livestock, he loved telling stories, visiting and spending time with his family and friends. He especially looked forward to his occasional trips to the casino, and had a special interest in sports, including the Minnesota Twins and Vikings.

He was a hard worker, who never truly retired. When his health forced him to let go of some of his chores, he continued to stay active by mowing the lawn, gardening, watering flowers and driving his Gator with his loyal companion, Mickey, in the passenger seat.

He is survived by his wife, Eloise; seven children, Diane (Steve) Allbee of Dunn Loring, Va., Donald (Debra) Bergey of Canton, David (Karen) Bergey of Harmony, Dennis Bergey of Canton, Dean Bergey of Harmony, Danette (Tim) Daniels of Waconia, Minn., and Doug (Debbie Christiansen) Bergey of Spring Valley; 15 grandchildren, Missy (Greg) Cappucci, Shelly (Mark) Maguire, Jeremy Bergey, Brock Bergey, Shawn (Tara) Bergey, Shara (Paul) Dohls, Jaime Bergey, Brandon Bergey, Brady (Kelly) Bergey, Kristina (Dan) Bess, Celeste Bergey, Channing Bergey, Dillon Bergey, Payton Bergey and Tyler Daniels; 10 great-grandchildren; one brother, Gerald (Gloria) Bergey of Harmony; two sisters, Marlys Helwig of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and Eleanor (Dale) Underbakke of Burr Oak; many extended family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant daughter.

Funeral services were held on Tuesday, at the Henrytown Lutheran Church in rural Canton with a military honors burial in the church cemetery.

Mengis Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.