Fishing 14

Harlen Merks Sr.

November 15, 1940 ~ February 13, 2024 (age 83) 83 Years Old

Harlen Merks Sr. Obituary

Harlen Merks Sr., 83, of Yorktown, passed away February 13, 2024 surrounded by his loving family.  He was born November 15, 1940 in Yorktown, Texas to the late Benhard and Emma Strakos Merks.  He was a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church.

A devoted man, Harlen took great pride in working to provide for his family.  Allowing his wife, Patricia, to be a stay-at-home mom until all three kids started school.  He encouraged his kids to do things the right way.  His favorite saying was, “If you are going to do it, do it right the first time.”  That saying has definitely stayed with his children through their adult life.   He wore many hats during his lifetime from starting to run a bulldozer for Emil Buesing at the age of 14 to running bulldozer for Howard Stulting, running a bulldozer and managing a truck business for McKenzie Contractors, being a mechanic on airplanes at Chase Field in Beeville, Texas, working at the local Yorktown Machine and Implement Shop, and finally his wife allowed him to start his own business as Merks Dozer Service.  Harlen was a jokester, always trying to get his co-workers, a day did not go by that he was not up to something.  There was not much he could not do with his bulldozer; he always would find a way to satisfy all of his customers.  

Fishing was Harlen’s special love.  He taught his kids to fish with cane poles in tanks first and then had them casting away at the Cabin at the Land cut.  Many memories were made from bringing in two keeper trout on a speck rig under the lights on the dock, to playing Schlitterbahn in front of the dock with the grandkids and him coming out of the water with a crab attached to his rearend.  A few grandkids might have had a hook in a hand or some other body part but fun and memories were made and a good ole fashion fish fry was enjoyed.  Passing on knowledge was huge in Harlen’s life, from teaching grandkids to hunt, fish, mechanic, restore jeeps to operating a bulldozer.     

He is survived by the love of his life Patricia Waltersdorff whom he met at Tom and Eds in 1964.  They sent many love letters while Harlen served in the Army stationed in Alaska from 1964-1966.  On August 6, 1966 he married Patricia in Yorktown and they have three children Harlen (Tammy) Merks, Becky (John) Smiley, Melissa (Tim) Strieber and his beloved dog Dozer.  He has 6 grandchildren Mitchell (Erin) Merks, Kalli (Travis) Novosad, Jordan (Joshua) Vaclavik, Jake (Bianca) Smiley, Lane (Jacque) Strieber, and Cy (Finance Cayla Green) Strieber.  He is survived by 11 great grandchildren Evelyn, Braden and Ryle Merks, Saylor and Reagan Novosad, Drew Campbell, Addyson Vaclavik and the future baby Vaclavik, Harlyn and Colston Smiley and Paisley Strieber.

He was preceded in death by his parents Bernhard and Emma Merks and his sister Nelda (Chuck) Winslette.

Visitation will be at Massey Funeral Home on Thursday, February 15, 2024 from 5:00 to 7:00.  Funeral Service will be held at Massey Funeral Home on Friday, February 16, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. with interment to follow at Westside Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Mitchell Merks, Travis Novosad, Jake Smiley, Joshua Vaclavik, Lane Strieber and Cy Strieber.  Honorary pallbearers are Kalli Novosad, Jordan Vaclavik and the great grandchildren.

The Merks family would like to express their sincere gratitude to Hospice of South Texas Dornburg Center of Compassion for their outstanding care and kindness.

Memorials may be given to Hospice of South Texas or donor’s choice.

You are invited to sign the online guest book at

Arrangements by Massey Funeral Home, Yorktown, Texas 361-564-2900.

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February 15, 2024

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Massey Funeral Home
779 N Riedel St
Yorktown, TX 78164

Funeral Service
February 16, 2024

10:00 AM
Massey Funeral Home
779 N Riedel St
Yorktown, TX 78164

Interment following funeral service
February 16, 2024

Westside Cemetery
Westside Cemetery Rd
Yorktown, TX 78164


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