Merlin L. “Lee” Eley

Merlin L. “Lee” Eley, age 87 of Highland, IL, died Thursday, June 13, 2024, at Cedarhurst Senior Living in Highland, IL.

He was born on Sunday, May 9, 1937, in Lakeview, OH, the son of Merlin and Mildred (nee Swonger) Eley.

On Saturday, February 13, 2021, he married Mary A. Pieck in Highland, Illinois, who survives.

He was a member of Masonic Lodge, Shriners, and Troy Methodist Club.

Lee grew up in Lakeview, Ohio area. He graduated from Ohio Northern College, and served in the U.S. Army in Germany with the tank crew. He worked for Van Horn Funeral Home at age 16, Air Stream for five years, and Dow Chemical for 30 years. He has lived in Ohio; Michigan; Buffalo, New York; and moved to Highland in 1973. He retired in 2007 as plant manager. In retirement, he would winter in a village in Florida. His hobbies included golfing at Carlyle Lake Golf Club, watching the Ohio State Buckeyes and St. Louis Cardinals Baseball, reading sports books, newspapers, novels and biographies. He loved having a good cigar, every now and again. He was great at captivating a large crowd with his jokes. He also had a collection of Ohio State memorabilia.

Survivors include: Wife – Mary A. Harrington-Eley, nee Pieck; Children – Alisa N. Gunter, Highland, IL; Alan L. (Fran) Eley, Highland, IL; Andrew C. Eley, Highland, IL; Step Daughters – Elizabeth R. (Stan) Westjohn, Tuscaloosa, AL; Laura C. (Jeff) Hettinger, Spring Hill, TN; Grandchildren – Donny (Jill) Gunter; Catherine (Casey) Adolph; Lindsay (Joe) Belobraydic; Kymberly (Keith) Rakers; Step Grandchildren – Max (Riley) Westjohn; Ford Westjohn; Olivia Hettinger; Great Grandchild – Destiny (Significant Other Gabby) Adolph; Maddison (Greg) Urbanc; Reagan Adolph; Landon Gunter; Alan Adolph; Olivia Adolph; Colton Snow; William Adolph; Luke Gunter; Michael Adolph; Rylie Gunter; Paislee Rakers; Step Great Grandchild – George Westjohn; Great Great Grandchild – Elliana Urbanc.

He was preceded in death by: Father – Merlin F. “Bus” Eley; Mother – Mildred L. Eley, nee Swonger; First Wife – Mary E. Eley, nee Kapp – Died 5/08/2007; Step Grandchild – Benjamin Herrington – Died 4/28/2020.

Arrangements are being handled by Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home in Highland, IL.

The family will have a Celebration of Life at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to Highland Area Chrisitan Service Ministry or Metro East Humane Society.

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