Merle E. Oltmans, age 74, of Council Bluffs, passed away on September 6, 2020, in Sierra Vista, Ariz., at his daughter Lyndsey's home, where Merle and his wife Kathy were visiting for 10 months. Merle was born on August 9, 1946 in Council Bluffs to the late Wilbert Jack and Gladys Eileen (Mathias) Oltmans. He was named for his uncle Merle Oltmans, a Purple Heart recipient, who was killed in action during WWII. Merle was raised on a farm east of Council Bluffs, and attended the Gilliat one-room school east of Council Bluffs until it closed when he was in 3rd grade. He and his sisters were bused to Glendale Elementary School, and then on to the Underwood Community School, where he graduated from High School in 1964. As a teenager, Merle met and fell in love with Kathy Waters, and they recently celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary. At 16 years old Merle worked at Hansen's Town and Country Grocery Store on South Omaha Bridge Road. After graduating from Underwood High School, he went to work at Robert's Dairy in Omaha, then drove trucks locally for Beeline Freight and Consolidated Freight, completing 32 years there as a Teamster. Merle started working for the US Postal Service, APWU, AFL-CIO, in Omaha, retiring in 2019 with over 15 and a half years of driving for them. He enjoyed the many friendships he made at each work place. His goal of working until he was 78 was cut short by health issues. Some of his favorite memories were coaching great groups of girls for the Underwood Optimists at the Elementary and Junior High levels for a few years. Merle enjoyed the many family trips to Glacier National Park in Montana. He was so proud of his children and grandchildren. He loved watching the Miller children participate in their activities at St. Albert School and was an avid NY Yankee fan. Merle spent the last 10 months visiting his daughter Lyndsey's family in Arizona, getting acquainted with his newest granddaughter Regan. Merle was thankful to God for all the years given to him and for his family. He will spend his time in Heaven praising Jesus for his gift of salvation and anticipating the reunion with his family there. Merle is survived by his wife Kathy; daughters, Terri (Jon) Miller, and Lyndsey (Joseph) Escobar; grandchildren, Travis (Madison) Miller, Reed Miller, Jeff Miller, Landry Miller, and Regan Escobar; sisters, Mary Oltmans of Council Bluffs, Carol (John) Bertelsen of Missouri Valley, Iowa, Beth (William) Dohse of Underwood, Iowa, and Laura (Dr. Merlyn) Gibson of Broomfield, Colo.; aunts; nieces; nephews; and cousins. Open visitation, Monday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cutler-O'Neill-Meyer-Woodring Bayliss Park Chapel. Private family graveside service, Tuesday, in Cedar Lawn Cemetery, with Pastor Rich Riche and John Reddish officiating. Memorial contributions will be directed by the family.
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