Merrill Frescoln

By Ellis Codjoe, November 19, 2018

Merrill Raymond Frescoln, 97, of Ottumwa and formerly of Batavia, IA passed away Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at the Vista Woods Care Center in Ottumwa, IA.  Funeral services will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 19, 2018 at the Batavia United Methodist Church in Batavia, IA with Pastor Kelly Peavey officiating.  Burial will be held in the Batavia Cemetery immediately following the service.  Military honors will be provided by Walter B. Schafer Post #775 Veterans of Foreign Wars and O.B. Nelson Post #3 American Legion.  Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, November 19, 2018 at the Batavia United Methodist Church and last until the time of service.  Memorial contributions in Merrill’s honor may be directed to the Batavia United Methodist Church.  Friends may sign the online guestbook at

Merrill Raymond Frescoln was born December 20, 1920 to Charles and Bertha Peebler Frescoln.  He graduated in 1938 from Batavia High School.  Merrill wrote, “The highlights of my education was playing all sports at Batavia and having winning teams in everything.”  Upon graduation Merrill attended Parsons College in Fairfield.  He left Parsons to join the United States Marine Corps where he met Lillian “Sunny” Hodowud, who was also a Marine.  The two were married in San Diego, CA before being deployed overseas. During Merrill’s time in the service he proudly served with the United States Marine Corps 2nd Marine Division in the Okinawa, Saipan, and Tinian Campaigns as well as the occupation of Nagasaki, Japan. Serving in combat during WWII was his defining moment.  He loved his Marine Corps and his country to the very end.  Upon returning from his service overseas he completed college, graduating from Iowa Wesleyan.  Merrill and Sunny became the proud parents to three boys; Richard, Robert, and Randy.  Sunny passed away in 1977.  Merrill later married Ruth Vanghaus and they were together for twenty years.  They later divorced.  Merrill, his brother Harold and his father Charles were co-owners in several farm elevator businesses.  Merrill worked as a seed and fertilizer salesman, had his own seed business and owned multiple rental properties and farmland.  He was an active member of the Batavia Methodist Church and enjoyed following the University of Iowa athletics.

Merrill was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Harold Frescoln.

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