Merlin A Orton, 85, of Bend, Ore, passed away Aug. 1, 2012 at his home.
He was born Sept. 12, 1926, in Pocatello to Thomas D. and Avilda Mecham Orton. He lived in the Boise area up through grade four and then moved to the Firth area where he graduated from Firth High School in 1943. His favorite sport was basketball and he also participated in track and baseball.
At the age of 11, Merlin went to work for his uncle during the summer on a cattle ranch at Chesterfield. He herded sheep for two summers and then worked in the hay for three summers.
Being 16 ½ years when he graduated from high school, Merlin went to Portland, Ore., and worked in the shipyards for one year as a welder building new ships. He then returned to the Firth area to sign up for the Navy. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1944-1947. Merlin attended college at Idaho State and transferred to Utah State where he graduated with a B.S. degree in Technology.
He married Mildred Irene Miller on July 26, 1957, and they lived at Riverside where he worked for Westinghouse Electric Corp. at the Naval Reactor Facilities. They later transferred to Las Vegas, Nev., where Merlin worked for Westinghouse in the Nuclear Rocket Development Program. They later moved to San Jose, Calif., where he was employed with the General Electric Co. in their Nuclear Division. While with GE, he traveled to nuclear power plants throughout the U.S., Asia, and Europe. During this time, they also lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Ottawa, Ill.
They retired in 1989 and returned to Blackfoot where they built a new home north of Blackfoot. They later moved to Bend, Ore., to be near their son Rande and his family.
He was a life member of the Sigma PI Fraternity, the ELFUN Society (GE), the American Legion and the Elks Lodge. Merlin enjoyed animals, sports of all kinds including hunting, fishing, and golf. He especially enjoyed time spent with his children and grandchildren.
He is survived by two sons, Tim (Sarah) Orton and Rande (Greta) Orton, both of Bend, Ore.; brother, William (Marie) Orton of Cascade and Tehachapi, Calif.; sister-in-law, Joyce Orton of Blackfoot; sister, Erma (Roy) Hurley of Salida, Colo.; six grandchildren and six great- grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife and partner, Mildred; a daughter, Carol Ann Lowe; two brothers, Delbert J. Orton and Alva M. Orton and a sister, Delva Orton.
Funeral services will be noon Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, at the Emanuel Lutheran Church in Blackfoot. The family will receive friends Thursday for one hour prior to the services at the church.
Interment will be in the Riverside -Thomas Cemetery with military rites by the David B. Bleak Post 93 assisted by the Idaho Honor Guard. Arrangements are under the direction of Nalder Funeral Home in Shelley.
Condolences can be sent to the family at www.nalderfuneralhome.com .