Merlin Hoscheit, 81, of Caledonia died Wednesday morning, May 15, 2013, at Caledonia Care and Rehab Center, Caledonia.

He was born March 21, 1932, in Caledonia to Nickolas and Mary (Schauls) Hoscheit. He married the love of his life, Mary Jean (Jeanne) Rieck, at St. Felix Church in Wabasha on June 24, 1961.

Merlin was a devout Catholic with a strong faith that he shared with his family. He was a lifetime member of St. Mary's Parish, where he received the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation.

He was one of the original six lay communion ministers for the parish, a position he was truly honored to hold.

Merlin loved the land and was a farmer his entire life until retirement in 1995. He was so proud to have his sons follow in his footsteps. They continue to share his passion for farming and trucking. Merlin was always a very hard worker and taught his children this same strong work ethic from early on.

His early accomplishments included continuing his father's livestock hauling business. Many excursions with him would include a Spring Grove strawberry soda pop and a Hershey candy bar purchased at area livestock auction barns.

Also, Merlin was one of the founding members of the Houston County tractor pull organization. Merlin's love for tractor pulling carried on to many of his children, most notably Matt.

Over the years, Merlin was a successful corn salesman for Lowe Seed Company. This endeavor allowed him to meet many fellow farmers and develop long lasting friendships.

One of Merlin's greatest passions was his love for polka music. He was a great dancer and many Saturday evenings Merlin and Jeanne spent dancing at Elmer's Supper Club in Caledonia. Even up to his final hours he was listening to his favorites, Howie Sturtz and Mollie B.

Survivors include his loving wife of 51 years, Jeanne; six wonderful children, Dr. Ann (Joe Davis) Hoscheit of Gastonia, N.C., Nicholas Hoscheit of Caledonia, Mary (Greg) Schaible of Lakeville, Ruth (Tom) Esch of Caledonia, Lynn (Nick) Schwartzhoff of Eitzen and Matthew (Amy) Hoscheit of Caledonia; eight grandchildren, Megan and Abby Schwartzhoff, Emily, Adam, Ava, Samantha and Ella Hoscheit and Maria Esch; two sisters-in-law, Lois Greer and Darlyne Hoscheit; and many nieces and nephews, other relatives and many dear friends.

Merlin is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Norman; brother and sister-in-law, Harry and Carol Rieck; and brother-in-law, Gordon Greer.

Mass of Christian Burial was May 18 at St. Mary's Parish, Caledonia. Fr. Gregory Leif officiated and burial was in Calvary Cemetery, Caledonia.

McCormick Funeral Home, Caledonia, assisted the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be left at www.mccormickfuneralhome.net.