Gerald Rostad died peacefully at home on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013. He was
100 years old and it was his 80th wedding anniversary.
He was born in Zumbrota, Minn., on April 8, 1913, the son of Martin
Ludwig Rostad and Hannah Priscilla Benrud Rostad. Merlin and his
brother, Nels Carlot Rostad, grew up in Comertown, Mont. Their childhood
revolved around the family’s general store, which included space for the
local post office because Merlin’s parents were postmasters. Childhood
responsibilities were: meeting the train each morning at 6 a.m. to load
an outgoing mail bag and pick up the incoming bag, clerking in the
general store and loading and hauling coal from nearby Coalridge to heat
the house and store for the winter.
For entertainment, the family had a little orchestra in which Merlin
played trumpet and occasionally piano. They also built a grass tennis
court and on hot summer days a special treat was to get an ice cream
cone in a nearby town. Merlin’s strongest interest, however, was
He attended Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., where he relished the
opportunity to construct all of the sets for every play the drama club
performed. Freshman year at Concordia, Merlin suffered an appendicitis
and awoke from the haze of anesthesia to see his beautiful young nurse,
Gladys Evelyn Holm. It was love at first sight. They later married and
spent 75 years together until her death.
Despite the Great Depression gripping the country, upon graduation in
1935, Merlin and Glady set off to seek their fortune in Chicago. Merlin
also received a degree from the Chicago Art Institute, but the looming
war opened opportunities for him in industry.
Merlin and Glady moved to Cedarburg in 1949 and founded Rostad Aluminum
Corp. in Grafton in 1953. The company still specializes in producing
aluminum permanent mold castings for a variety of industrial
applications. Merlin was active in the Milwaukee Symphony and the
Milwaukee Art Museum and generously supported a variety of civic,
artistic and music related charities in Cedarburg, Milwaukee and
In the mid 1980s, Merlin began designing large scale aluminum
sculptures. As he often explained, every sculptor uses the tools
available in his time and Merlin’s “hammer and chisel” was a
computerized machine. His paintings and sculpture have been displayed in
several locations. Merlin was mayor of Cedarburg from 1956 to 1964, was
a member of the Cedarburg-Grafton Rotary and was very active in Advent
Merlin is survived by his children, Richard Rostad (Kathleen Houseman),
Penelope Rostad, Susan Weil (Randy); five grandchildren, Christopher
Rostad (Joellen Landy), Andrew Rostad (Christina Nall), Alana Rostad,
Alexandra Weil and Aaron Weil; and two greatgrandchildren, Savanna
Rostad and Sophia Rostad.
Visitation and funeral services will be held at Advent Lutheran Church,
Cedarburg, on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013. Visitation will be from noon to 2
p.m. and the funeral service will begin at 2 p.m.. followed by the
burial at Zur Ruhe Cemetary in Cedarburg.
Please make any donations to Advent Lutheran Church or the Milwaukee
For online condolences, please go to
Mueller Funeral Home & Crematory assisted the family with arrangements.