On Monday morning, Aug. 20, 2007, Merle "Rusty" Dale Cohu, 76, died peacefully, at his home with his beloved family around him. He is now with his heavenly Father.

On March 9, 1931, he was born in his family home in Granby, Mo. to Wilfred Merle and Zorada Ann (Peebles) Cohu. His father worked the pipeline in the lower 48 states, so the family moved often. Merle attended 17 grade schools before his family settled in Grandview as he entered seventh grade. After his high school graduation, he attended college for a time, and then entered the U.S. Air Force as an air traffic controller, serving in Iceland and Greenland during the Korean War. While on leave in Portland, Ore., he attended a function at a nursing school there and met his "Beautiful Brown Eyes", Dorothy. They married on Feb. 5, 1955.

Merle valued family above work and his own agendas. His wife and three girls always knew their place in his heart. He supported them as an air traffic controller in Seattle, Ephrata and Santa Barbara, Calif., eventually settling in the Grandview area to work with heavy equipment. He was considered one of the finest bulldozer operators in the state, especially when it came to finish work. He also hauled milk from dairies to the production plants in Spokane and Seattle.

For 49 years, he served his church, Bethany Presbyterian. He served as an elder, a trustee, and a deacon and faithfully worshipped with his Bethany Family. He and Dorothy also served as speakers at several Marriage Encounter retreats. Because Merle felt one should leave something beautiful behind, he was active on the beautification committee for the city of Grandview, bringing vision to projects of lasting beauty.

A major stroke in 1991 brought new challenges to his life. He adapted in amazing ways to having only the use of one arm and leg. His therapist told him to get a hobby, so he studied the sports of English croquet, lawn bowling and bocce ball. His passion for the sports fueled hard work and resourcefulness, and The Lawns at Hollow Way Meadows was born. Even though handicapped, he built beautiful, world-class courts. People came from all over the U.S. and Canada (even a guest from England) to play tournaments sanctioned by the National Croquet Association. Their facility was considered one of the best-built and maintained courts on the circuit, and Merle and Dorothy were known for their skill at the game. Thanks to all those new friends who enjoyed their hospitality and fine competition.

Merle is survived by his wife of 52 years, Dorothy; three daughters, Cathy Roginski (Dennis), Julie Shriver (Lee) and Linda Benzel (Greg); seven grandchildren, who called him Papa, Miles and Nathan Benzel, Michelle and Cheryl Morris, and Jennie, Andrew and Elisabeth Roginski; his three brothers, Torchey (Sharon), Tandy (Diane) and Fred (Sam) Cohu.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

From his family: To our beloved husband, father and grandfather, we give honor and praise. We will miss his wisdom, inspiration, unconditional love and his famous sense of humor. We are proud to call Merle Cohu, husband, daddy and Papa.

Viewing and visitation will be held Friday, Aug. 24, 2007, from 1 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside. Graveside services will be held Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007, at 11 a.m., at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens in Sunnyside, with a memorial service to follow at 1 p.m., at the Bethany Presbyterian Church in Grandview.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Bethany Church Memorial Fund or to Lower Valley Hospice. Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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