My Uncle, Merle Feller, b 1915 d 2002

This is my first little essay for The Carnival of Genealogy. In all these years, while I had a “real job,” I resisted getting involved. It was most likely a mistake, but that’s water under the bridge. I’m probably best known for my mistakes anyway. :>)

My uncle, Merle Feller, was born on the 2nd of January, 1915, in Canon City, Colorado. He was the second child born to Neil Cornett (of Grayson County, Merle Feller 1915-2002 Virginia) and Hazel Feller (of Canon City, Colorado). Neil and Hazel soon divorced and Merle and my mother, Virginia, were adopted by their great aunt and uncle, Fred and Rosa Feller. I don’t know a lot about Uncle Merle’s early years, but I believe he spent most of his life in the construction business in the Pueblo, Colorado area. He was married twice, first to Agnes Marie Larson (m 1935) , and later to Miriam Hooks (m 1955).

I only saw Merle a half dozen times in my life. Once or twice when he came to Washington to see my mother, at a couple family reunions in Canon City, Colorado, and two or three times when I stopped by his apartment to visit with him later in his life. I really liked the guy – and I think he liked me. He’d always tease me about my mother being vegetarian and refusing to even look at anything with alcohol in it. I know mother gave him a bad time about his willingness to drink what she considered to be too much. Thus the teasing on his part.

Merle was not accepted by his birth-father, Neal Cornett (my grandfather), as being his son until just days before Neal’s death. My mother convinced her birthfather, Neal, to go to Pueblo, Colorado to visit Merle. While he was there, he accepted Merle for the first time in his long life (91 years). Within a few days, while still at Uncle Merle’s, he fell, broke his hip and passed away. When Grandpa’s will was opened, he left Merle $1.00. Merle said it was like “a slap from the grave.” It’s too bad he didn’t live a little longer, as I’m sure the will would have been a little different.

Merle was a typical Feller, and being a Feller, he seemed to hold grudges against other family members pretty easily. We still have a heck of a time having family reunions in that there are always factions of the family that aren’t currently on speaking terms with each other. Somewhere around 2000 Merle decided that he wasn’t speaking to the family anymore, and up and disappeared – into what we found out later was Butte County, California. He moved in with a friend, and died there on October 4, 2002.

I only wish I’d gotten to know him better… Writing this hasn’t really helped my day… I have an empty feeling…

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (www.FamilyRootsPublishing.com), writes daily at GenealogyBlog.com, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

2 thoughts on “My Uncle, Merle Feller, b 1915 d 2002”

  1. I understand your empty feeling, but know you are not alone in the family’s squabble. Without giving out names, there are some Italians on my husband’s lines that won’t talk to family members over a small incident when they were young adults and hold a grudge til their deathbed. My mom’s dad went missing when I was born in 1961, he resurfaced in the late 70’s. He left over a misunderstanding with his brother. (He and my grandmother were divorced). All those years missed over a misunderstanding. My grandfather died 3 years after he came back. My mother found out years later via the internet and a genealogy query that she had a brother from an encounter her father had before he disappeared.

    So, when you write these stories, it helps those like me know we are not alone in these family matters. While we wish all our stories were exciting and inspirational, some are ones we just learn from, and love them anyways. I hope to read more from you in the future. Tina Sansone

  2. I think those of us whose parents and grandparents families didn’t seem to have close or amiable relationships work harder on relationships with our children and grandchildren. Perhaps that is our legacy.

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