Merlys E. (Dougherty) Pankratz, 72, of Eveleth, passed away Thursday, May 30, 2019 surrounded by family at her residence.

Merlys Elaine Pankratz was born February 14, 1947 in St. James, MN to Robert and Myrtle (Nelson) Dougherty. She graduated from Butterfield High School in 1965. Following high school, she attended Mankato State College and then Mesabi Community College. On August 28, 1965, she was united in marriage to DeLyle Pankratz in Butterfield, MN. Merlys held various jobs, her last being a Senior Eligibility Specialist for St. Louis County where she was employed for 31 years.

Merlys was a member of St. Louis County Employees Local 66 Executive Board and Messiah Lutheran Church. She was also a member of Path Blazers, Trailhawks, and Mesabi Snow Voyageurs snowmobile clubs. Through the years, she belonged to and was active in a variety of organizations related to her childrens’ activities.

Merlys enjoyed quilting, sewing, needle point, deer hunting in the Crane Lake and Buyck area, spending time at “the cabin” in Buyck, camping when their childern were younger in the Thistledew area, and was a supporter of the DFL party. She especially made every effort to spend time with her daughters, grandchildren, great granddaughter, and her sisters.

She was strong- willed, generous, no nonesense-tell it like it was, always keeping her family at the center of her world.

She is survived by her husband of 53 years, DeLyle; daughters, Natalie(Dave Leff) Pankratz-Leff, Nicole Pankratz, and Noel (Wade) Nivala; grandchildren, Dustyn Leff, Paige (Eddie) Mortaloni- Ferguson, Dylan Leff, Tristin Nivala, Payton Nivala, and Sydney Nivala; great granddaughter, Vivian Mortaloni- Ferguson; sisters, Sandra(Lynn) Clausen, Robbin(Scott) Heller, and Tammy Kuehl; numerous cousins, sisters and brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, special friends; and pets, Buddy and Basil.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Myrtle Dougherty; parents-in-law, William and Althea Pankratz; brother, Robert Dougherty; brother-in-law, Larry Kuehl; and niece, McKenzie Kuehl.

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A visitation is planned Friday, June 21st, 5-8 p.m., Messiah Lutheran Church. A visitation on June 22nd at 10:00 a.m, followed by a service at 11:00 at Messiah Lutheran Church. A small luncheon will be served at the church following the service with burial to follow at the Eveleth Cemetery. Pastor Ellen Taube will be presiding & Pastor Liz Cheney will be assisting. The family requests memorials in lieu of flowers to be donated to charities of your choice. Arrangments are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia. To sign the online guestbook or send condolences, please visit www.rangefuneralhomes.com .

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