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Merle L. Blank

Merle L. Blank, 75, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., formerly of Bemidji, died Saturday, March 14, 2009, at a hospital in Oak Ridge.

A visitation will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Oak Ridge, followed by a funeral Mass and burial.

He was born Nov. 8, 1933, to Cecil and Marie (Cranbeer) Blank in Kanawaha, Iowa. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Bemidji State College. During his career as a research chemist he authored many papers and was a frequent presenter at field-related meetings. He retired in 1992, as a biochemist, from Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

He enjoyed fishing, coaching softball, attending sporting activities and spending time with his family and friends. His hobbies included woodworking and working with computers.

He is survived by his wife, of 54 years, Dorothy Siegle Blank; children, Nancy (William Pryor III) Blank of Cleveland, Tenn., David (Vicki) Blank of Oak Ridge, Linda (Wesley Payne) Blank Payne of Knoxville, Tenn., and Jim (Elizabeth) Blank of Knoxville; nine grandchildren; sister, Arlene (Archie) Tangborn, Evelyn (Harry) Creger and Esther (Adrian) Vorderbruggen; brother, Joe (Carol) Blank and Bob (Lorene) Blank.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Janice Blank.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Mary's School.

Online messages to the family may be left at