Funeral Services for Merlin Hansen, age 90 of Neligh, NE will be 10:30 am, Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at United Methodist Church in Neligh, with Pastor Bruce Phillips, Officiating. Burial will be in Laurel Hill Cemetery with Military Rites conducted by Neligh American Legion post #172. Visitation will be 5:00 - 7:00 pm Monday, October 26, 2015 at Beyer Snider Memorial Funeral Home in Neligh, Ne. Merlin passed away on October 24, 2015 at the Willows in Neigh. Merlin Wayne Hansen was born on May 14, 1925 to Hazel Lulu (Ofe) and Henry Hansen in a farmhouse 6 miles south of Oakdale with his Aunt Dora as midwife. In 1936, the "Dirty Thirties" became real to Merlin and his parents as they loaded a new 1936 Chevy pickup with a daybed, washer, barrel of canned goods and their clothes with money from selling their livestock and grain, headed to California. Attending 6th through 8th grade there, Merlin helped contribute to the family income by picking olives and harvesting cowbells from the fields. He earned enough to buy his first harmonica (.75 cents in the key of G) and accordion ($17.00 from Montgomery Ward and still plays). 1939 brought the Hansen family back to Nebraska to resume farming east of Neligh. Merlin shared many stories of his high school days, especially FFA including State Treasurer and representing Nebraska at the National Convention and earned the State Farmer and American Farmer designations. Merlin graduated from Neligh High School in 1943 and was drafted at the age of 19. He met his wife Ruth Norene Wagner who was working for the bank in Neligh. They were married on August 21, 1944 in O'Neill, NE. Five days later Merlin left for the Army and served in Italy for two years. Merlin and Ruth began their lives together on a farm south of Norfolk (son Larry was born), then to a farm South of Oakdale (daughter Nancy born) and in 1956, purchased their farm north of Neligh where they made their permanent home. Merlin's love for farming was only surpassed by the arrival of grandchildren. He once completed an insurance application by listing "grandkids" under hobbies. Grandchildren Kevin, Tracy, Chris, and Danny were to complete this love with the arrival of great-grandchildren Baylee, Gracie, Chloe, Sydney, Brynlee, Ayla, Gracie, and Layne. He is survived by children: Nancy Bitney of Neligh, NE and Larry Hansen of Norfolk, NE; 4 grandchildren, Kevin, (Heidi) Bitney, Christopher (Natalie) Bitney, Tracy Hansen and Daniel (Kristal) Hansen; 8 great grandchildren, Gracie Bitney, Chloe Bitney, Gracie Bullock, Layne Bullock, Baylee Johnson, Sydney Johnson, Brynlee Hansen, and Ayla Hansen. He was preceded in death by his parents, and wife, Ruthe (2013) A life well lived; a life enjoyed. Gonna' miss you, dad!