Merlin J. VandenPlas

October 16, 1936
April 18, 2020

Merlin J. VandenPlas, 83, died Saturday, April 18, 2020 with his family at his side. He was born October 16, 1936, in Humboldt to Henry “Hank” and Angeline (VanderKelen) VandenPlas

Merlin was a graduate of Luxemburg High School, Class of 1954, where he wrestled and played football. In February of 1956, Merlin enlisted in the U.S. Army. Following basic training he was transferred to Fort Lee in Virginia and was stationed in Germany until his discharge in 1958. On May 2, 1959, Merlin married Shirley Rank at St. Mary Catholic Church. She preceded him in death on June 19, 2019. Merlin owned and operated a farm with his family for forty years. During that time, he also worked as a cheesemaker, and later as a seed dealer for Renk Seed Company. Later, Merlin did construction work for Spartan Construction until his retirement. Merlin was a town supervisor for the Town of Humboldt for many years and served on the Brown County Board of Supervisors. Merlin loved spending time with his sons, grandsons, and hunting buddies at his cottage in Popple River to deer hunt. He loved to spend his time with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and attending their sporting events. Merlin was a Green Bay Packers season ticket holder and attended the Ice Bowl.

Merlin is survived by his children, Steve (Kim) VandenPlas, Randy VandenPlas (special friend Stacy), Roxanne (Terry) Jorgensen; his grandchildren, Ryan (Abbey) VandenPlas, Ashley (Casey) Mumper, Jake VandenPlas (special friend Carmen), Alycia Koss, Taylor Koss, Kori Koss, Brandon VandenPlas (fiancé Kiah), Brittany (Brandon) Selner, Presley Saharsky, Parker Gille, Jason (Karianne) Arendt, Michael (Tammy) Arendt, Brett (Kate) Arendt, Jenna Jorgensen, Brent (Marlee) Jorgensen; great-grandchildren, Brooks, Calvin, Aubrey, Cooper, twins Breelyn and Brevin, Oliver, Easton, Siena, Jordianna, twins Graham and Chloe, Hudson, Noah, and Ivy; his sisters, Jane Soletski, June (Roger) Wavrunek, Carol (Franky) Wisnicky; three sisters-in-law; Arvilla Rank, Janet (Jim) Van Pay, Sandy Rank; a brother-in-law, Merrill (Sue) Rank; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife Shirley; his parents; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Pete and Agnes Rank; and a brother-in-law, John Soletski. 

Due to current state mandates on social gathering private services will be held. Proko-Wall Funeral Home is assisting the family with funeral arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting

Merlin’s family extends a sincere word of thanks to the caring staff of Autumn Fields, to his grandson Jason Arendt and the staff of Rennes Health and Rehab, and to Unity Hospice.