Merlin E. Jensen

Merlin E. Jensen

1939 – 2024


OTTERTAIL, MINNESOTA - Merlin E. Jensen, 84, of Ottertail, Minnesota, formerly of Holstein, passed away on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024 at his Winter home of Parker Dam, California. Funeral service postponed to Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024 at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church of Holstein with the Pastor Betty Kiboko officiating. Burial will be at the Galva Township West Cemetery of Galva. A visitation will be held one hour prior to the service starting at 10 a.m. at the church. The Nicklas D. Jensen Funeral Home of Holstein is in charge of the arrangements.

Merlin was born on the Jensen family farm four miles south of Holstein on Nov. 25, 1939, to Eldon and Helen (Johnson) Jensen. Merlin was baptized and confirmed in the United Methodist Church of Holstein. He graduated from Holstein High School in 1958. During his high school years, he was so proud to be a Pirate and participated in football, basketball and track. A collarbone injury sidelined him his senior year, however, he was still out there on the field come Friday night supporting the team. His senior year, he was crowned homecoming king and prom king. Merlin was quite a storyteller. Memories of belt sander races in the shop room, among many other stories of high school hijinks, would bring tears to your eyes with laughter. He loved making people laugh.

Merlin attended Iowa State University for a few semesters before returning home to help his parents with the family farm. In 1962, Merlin married Betty Bergmann, also from Holstein. The couple was blessed with four children, Jeff, Jim, Julie and Jason. Merlin was an active member of the Holstein Jaycees. One would find him out on the football field come Friday night during football season, being a part of the “chain gang” with his other former teammates. Merlin also helped in the early construction of the Holstein Country Club/golf course. Merlin farmed until 1982. In November of 1981, Merlin married Susan Kay of Holstein. After selling his farm, Merlin and Susan moved to Storm Lake where they managed the Corner Pocket. In 1987, Merlin and Susan moved to Ottertail, Minnesota. Merlin always dreamed of living on a lake in that part of Minnesota. He absolutely loved fishing. He treasured being able to take his dad’s boat out for a day on the water. Merlin kept that boat afloat for many years.  Merlin and Susan have enjoyed many years of fishing, camping, traveling, grandkids, as well as a good Nascar race.  Merlin’s favorite driver was Mark Martin.

Merlin is survived by his wife of 42 years, Susan of Ottertail, Minnesota; his four children Jeff of Sioux City, Jim (Lisa) of Ankeny, Julie (Kevin) Johnson of Holstein, and Jason of Baltimore, Maryland; four grandchildren, Derek (fiance’ Monique) Jensen of Johnston, Stephanie (Nick) Massmann of Ankeny, Alex Johnson of Spirit Lake and Lauren Johnson of Spirit Lake; two step-grandchildren, Natali (Tyler) Atkinson of Clive, Nicholas (Brooke) Moon of Urbandale; two great-grandchildren, Elijah Massmann and Evelina Massmann of Ankeny; four step-great-grandchildren, Talan Atkinson and Reagan Atkinson of Clive, Levi Moon and Miles Moon of Urbandale; sisters-in-law Mary Gross of Holstein, Kathy Wittrock of Cherokee; brothers-in-law Curt (Lana) Kay and Jeff (Therese) Kay; several nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Eldon and Helen Jensen, father-in-law and mother-in-law Herb and Joyce Kay, and brother-in-law T(Whiskey Warrior) Gross.

Online condolences can be made at


Services: Jan. 18, United Methodist Church, Holstein

Burial: Galva Township West Cemetery, Galva

Nicklas D. Jensen Funeral Home • Holstein • 712-368-4332



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