Merle James Petron was born on December 14, 1934, in Kelliher, Minnesota to William and Hulda (Benson) Petron. He lived in Kelliher and Alaska. He passed away on July 7, 2019 at Sanford Hospital in Bemidji, Minnesota, of pneumonia, while vacationing. He joined the Air Force during the Korean War, hauled freight on the Alcan Highway, worked road and airport construction, and hauled fuel with a tanker-pup combination. The oil spill and stranded Denali climbers led to long days in the fuel truck. He liked camping with the kids, watching the light change on the mountains, keeping tabs on road improvements, recreational driving, hiking the bike trail and attending Kyushu Gypsy (6461 Carrier Sq.) reunions. Survivors include his wife, Grace, daughters Gwendolyn (Mike) and Jennifer: son, Raymond (Kirsten); granddaughters Lillie and Alexandra; grandsons Kyle and Benjamin, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors. Kehl Mortuary of Palmer and Cease Funeral Home of Bemidji handled arrangements. Ashes will be spread at Beyers Lake and Lazy Mountain, Merle's favorite places, with a small receptacle in the Fairview Cemetery. A celebration of life was held in Kelliher on July 11, 2019, and one is planned at the Palmer Depot, at 2 p.m. on August 18, 2019.