Merlin John Shanks

PORTAGE – Merlin John Shanks, age 94, left this world on Saturday, September 14, 2019 and passed into the loving arms of his Savior. 

Merlin was born on November 26, 1924, in the Township of Caledonia, the son of W. Melvin and Helen (Messer) Shanks.  He served his country in the U.S. Army from 1945-1947.  Merlin married Eunice Steinhorst on June 4, 1949 in North Freedom.  He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend to many throughout his life.  Merlin was an active member of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Portage.

Merlin lived and farmed in the beautiful hills of Caledonia until the last few years of his life.  He was actively involved in the Caledonia community and his church.  Merlin loved to garden, raising beautiful flowers and abundant vegetables.  He also loved woodworking and made many beautiful pieces for his family.  He adored his wife and loved spending time with his family.         

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Eunice Shanks; his children, Steven (Kimberly) Shanks, Kathleen (William) Statz, Mary (Daniel) Naylor, Kenneth (Joan) Shanks and Robert (Kathy) Shanks; his 12 grandchildren, Jeremy Shanks, Stephanie (Ike Lanman) Shanks, Jennifer (Brian) Oestreich, Michele (Bijan Warner) Statz, Joseph (Tasha) Naylor, Laura (Garrett) Colbert, Andrew (Ann) Naylor, Stuart (Opeyemi Daramola) Shanks, Douglas (Miranda) Shanks, Martin (Michelle) Shanks, Miranda Shanks and Ian Shanks; 19 great-grandchildren plus one on the way; his sister-in-law, Virginia Shanks, many nieces and nephews,  other relatives and many friends.  He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Leon, William and John (Genevieve) Shanks. 

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., on Thursday, September 19, 2019, at St. Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church in Portage, with Rev. Greg Hovland officiating.  Burial will be held in Shanks Cemetery, with Military Rites by the Portage Area Veteran’s Honor Guard.  Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. on Thursday at the church. The Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church or Shanks Cemetery Association. 

The family would like to thank the staff of Generations Hospice, Agrace HospiceCare, Heritage House and Pastor Greg Hovland.   




For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)