Harry Lyle Mehl, 92 of Stanford passed away at 3:29 PM on Tuesday August 22, 2017 at Sugar Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Bloomington. There will be a funeral service for Harry on Monday August 28, 2017 at 10 AM at Ebenezer United Methodist Church in rural McLean. Pastor Mike Abel will officiate. There will be a visitation Sunday August 27, 2017 at Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home in Bloomington from 2-4 PM. Interment will be in Park Lawn Cemetery in Danvers. Military rites will be conducted by both active duty Marines and the Bloomington – Normal American Legion Honor Guard.
Reception immediately to follow graveside services at the Covell Town Hall. All are welcome:
8017 E 1100 North Rd, Bloomington, IL 61705. Otto-Argo-Calvert Funeral Home in Danvers is handling arrangements.
Harry was born January 25, 1925 in Normal to Harry Bryan and Elsie Elizabeth Skinner Mehl. He married Orva “Jean” Hunziker on March 16, 1953 in Bryan, TX. She survives.
He is also survived by his children Renee’ (Dennis) Rousey of Tacoma, WA, Anna Mehl (Mark Althouse) of Champaign, and four grandchildren Benjamin Mehl, Lena Mehl, Eli Mehl Rousey and Dara Mehl Althouse.
He was preceded in death by his son, Magnus Richard, his parents, one brother Donald Jean, a step-brother Donald Evans and step-sisters Ina Smiley and Patricia Weidner.
Harry grew up on a farm near Danvers, Illinois. When he was 12, his mother Elsie died of breast cancer. Later, Harry’s father married Vena Evans. Her three children; Donald, Ina and Patricia joined the family. Harry skipped high school graduation to join the USMC. He became a sea-going Marine despite being told he was “too short” to serve at sea. He was stationed aboard the USS Tennessee. While serving as a gunner, he was hit by a Kamikaze on 4/12/45. He suffered life threatening burns over a large percentage of his body and was hospitalized in Oakland California for 18 months. While in Oakland he attended the University of California. Upon returning home he attended Illinois Wesleyan University where he met life-long friends: “Big John” Long Bonds, “Little John” Mosser & Jack Tuschoff. Harry stopped school to return to the farm and work with his Dad. During this time, Harry’s younger Brother Donald Jean died of leukemia. This was a great sorrow of Harry’s life.
Harry took a job at Caterpillar Tractor Co. While working there, he saw a “stunning” woman running the cafeteria; and, that woman was Jean Hunziker. This began one of the true love stories of all-time. Harry and Jean were crazy about each other to the last day of his life. At 52, Harry graduated with a BS in Sociology from ISU. He was a founder of the Parklands Foundation. He and Jean donated land to the Foundation as a nature preserve. Now known as “Mehl’s Bluff”, it is the highest bluff along the Mackinaw River. Harry was a long-time member of the Great Books Society and a dedicated life-long Democrat. He was a member of First Christian Church in Stanford. When his children were young the family travelled the US to almost every battlefield. Later, he and Jean traveled the Silk Road from China to Pakistan and other places around the world. They trekked to Patagonia in their 80’s. Just last year, they traveled to the Puyallup Fair in Washington State to ride the wooden roller coaster-seated in the front car. He loved the outdoors and never missed a chance to swim on a hot day. After a day of bailing hay or walking beans, he drove the crew to the Stanford Pool. Later at home with a beer and a cigar, he would declare the day as “good.” Many summer nights the family slept in the yard to watch the stars.
Harry loved life and filled every day to the brim. He worked hard. He played hard. And, he loved hard.
His life was shared with many. All of us who knew him have a part of “Harry” with us.
Harry served his country in the United States Marines during World War II in campaigns in Si Pan, Guam, Palau, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The USS Tennessee battleship received a Navy
Unit Commendation. Harry received nine Battle Stars and the Purple Heart. Memorial contributions may be made to Parklands Foundation http://www.parklandsfoundation.org/</a> and the Southern Poverty Law Center <a href=”https://www.splcenter.org/”>https://www.splcenter.org/.