Merlin C. Crass


Merlin C. Crass, 91, of West Bend, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, at his residence.

He was born Dec. 1, 1917, in Fillmore, the tenth child to the late Joseph and Edna (nee Gerner) Crass, and married Alice E. Knoeck on Jan. 2, 1943, at Camp Edwards, Mass.

Merlin was an accomplished stone mason, building fireplaces for the rich and famous. Merlin took the beautiful Wisconsin field stone to new levels, building fireplaces in Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado and New Mexico.

An avid hunter from the age of 7, Merlin passed this love and passion onto his sons and grandsons, hunting for trophy bucks even in the later years of his life. When diagnosed with melanoma, his wish was for one more hunting season which his “Lord and Savior” granted!

Merlin was a WWII veteran, fighting in Africa, Italy, France and southern Germany, and liberated concentration camps at the end of the war. His war stories live on in the hearts and minds of his children and grandchildren, ever reminding them of his fight for their freedom.

His love for Alice, his wife, sweetheart and best friend, for 66 years, serves as a constant reminder and model of what loving relationships are all about.

He will be truly missed.

Survivors include his loving wife, Alice, and six children, Therese M. (Wayne) Casper of Adell, Mary A. (Dan) Howard of Highland Ranch, Colo., Christine R. (Tim) Kannenberg of Malone, Joanne C. (Michael) Barber of Taos, N.M., Michael J. (Jane) Crass of Cedarburg and Mark J. (Maria) Crass of Francis Creek. He is further survived by 21 grandchildren, Jacqueline DenHartog, Aaron Casper, Elizabeth Hogfeldt, Rebecca Casper, Allison Casper, Zachary Casper, Nathan Casper, Robert Howard, Ted Howard, Maria Howard, Katherine Kannenberg, Sarah Kannenberg, Amy Tradewell, David Kannenberg, Matthew Kannenberg, Alexandra Barber, Emily Crass, Anna Crass, Madeline Crass, Nicholas Crass and Kayla Crass; seven great-grandchildren; five brothers, Donald (Fayme) Crass of Phelps, Roy (Frances) Crass of Slinger, Everette Crass of Land O’Lakes, Bruce Crass of Phelps and Phillip Crass of West Bend; nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.

Merlin is preceded in death by his son, Alan O. Crass; six sisters, Florence Crass, Gladys Lechner, Lorraine Krause, Edna Peters, Helen Cook and Esther Koenig; and seven brothers, Wilmer Crass, Carlos Crass, Russell Crass, Joseph Crass Jr., Bill Crass, Ray Crass and Orville Crass.

A memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, Nov. 30, 2009, at 11 a.m. at Holy Angels Catholic Church with the Rev. Gerald Brittain presiding. Visitation will be Sunday, Nov. 29, at Holy Angels Catholic Church from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. and also Monday from 10 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Disabled American Veterans or the Holy Angels School Trust Fund are appreciated.

The Schmidt Funeral Home of West Bend is serving the family. Online guestbook and condolences are available at