Merle E. Landes Knight

Merle E.  Landes Knight

Merle E.L. Knight joined friends and family members in Heaven on February 22, 2018, departing her earthly home at Park Village Pines, Kalamazoo.

Born April 14, 1923 in Midale, Montana, Merle was the 3rd child of six born to Carroll E. and Myrtle (Bannan) Landes. As a girl she enjoyed living on a farm with many animals, 4-H Club sewing and attending a one-room schoolhouse where the Landes kids made up one-half of the attending children. After graduating from Mason High School in Mason, MI, Merle joined the workforce as a waitress at the Olympia Restaurant in downtown Kalamazoo where she met her soon to be husband, Maynard “Shorty” Knight.

Roller skating at Northlake Roller Rink, playing cards with Maynard’s siblings and attending many sporting events cinched the love in their hearts and Shorty proposed in December 1942…however, World War II interrupted their plans. After Maynard departed for the Army, Merle was determined to also serve her country and joined the Navy WAVES in October 1944 where she was stationed at Cecil Field, Jacksonville, FL. “Lefty” proudly played on the first WAVES softball team as an outfielder in 1945. On September 27, 1946, after their military discharges, Merle married Maynard and settled in Otsego.

Primarily a stay at home mom to five, Merle found many ways to serve her community over the years: as Otsego Band Boosters President and “pie maker extraordinaire” for the Allegan County Fair Band Booster Booth, as a 4-H leader for over 15 years, as a proud lifetime league bowler (over 50 years) at Plainwell Lanes, as an election worker for the Otsego Township Democratic Party for many years and as a committed fan of sporting events for her children and grandchildren, of whom she was extremely proud.

Her devoted family will remember her as a classy and feisty lady, who loved well and crocheted constantly! (“Her children respect and bless her.” Proverbs 31:28 msg)

Surviving along with her husband of 71 years are her three children, 2 sons-in-law and 11 grandchildren: Andrew & Pam Knight (Jef & Jamie Sue Knight and Adam & Samantha Knight), Steve & Pam DeBoer (Chris & Kara DeBoer and Curt & Amy DeBoer), Bill & Marlita Knight Walker (Teg & Mikkel Walker Tegelaar, Ben & Jenny Walker and Keith & Melody Walker Hendren), Andy & Trish Winter (Joe & Amanda Winter Tiseo and Allison Winter) Maynard & Donna Knight (Brett Knight and Alise Knight); 19 great-grandchildren with 2 more on the way; sister, Doris Landes Herrington; sisters-in-law, Reva Knight and Gloria Ritchie and many nieces and nephews.

Merle was preceded in death by her daughters, Arlene Knight DeBoer and Amy Knight Winter; her sisters Alta Landes Carpenter and Hazel Landes Cassell; her brothers, Howard Landes and Keith Landes as well as many sisters and brothers-in-law.

Friends may visit with Merle’s family starting at 11:00 A.M., Monday, February 26, 2018, until the time of the funeral service at 12:00 P.M. at the Otsego United Methodist Church with Reverend Bill Walker officiating.

A luncheon at the church will follow.

A private family burial will take place at Mountain Home Cemetery in Otsego at a later time.

Contributions in memory of Merle may be directed to the Park Village Pines Employee Appreciation Fund, which will encourage and support the amazing staff who deeply loved Merle.

Messages of condolence may be posted at

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Nancy Tiseo says:

    I celebrate your life through your amazing granddaughter Amanda. your granddaughter Amanda is a loving daughter in law and has give me two beautiful grandchildren to love! I owe all this to you Merle and will always be thankful! May you Rest In Peace knowing your legacy is thriving!

  2. Maynard and Donna and family,
    Please know that you have our deepest sympathy in the loss of your dear Mother As you knowwe are still in Florida, and so sorry that we will not be able to attend your funeral. Byt you will be in our thoughts and prayers. ❤️. Sharon and Joe Yantis.

    • Dear Donna and Maynard,

      You have our deepest sympathy in the loss of your dear Mother. Please know that we will be thinking and lifting your family up in prayer in the days ahead. We wish we were home and would be able to give you help and support in this difficult time. Praying for for you. ❤️

  3. Danette Carpenter-Littel says:

    My heart is broken. Your Mom was so important to me. She gave to Joanne in ways that are cannot be defined.
    I love you all, and my heart is broken.
    Know that my love for you all is real and solid.

    Love, Dani

  4. Donna Tharge says:

    My deepest condolences on the passing of your dear mother. She was such a sweet lady. I can imagine her dancing on those streets of gold with Maynard, Amy, Arlene and many more. God Bless all the family. Jesus Is Lord.

  5. Carla McDonald says:

    My deepest sympathies in the loss of Merle. She will be greatly missed. She was a very kind lady and always had a smile on her face and a kind word to say.

  6. Nathan Chapman says:

    I am so saddened to hear of the passing of your mother. I have many fond memories of our family visiting yours on occasions many years ago. God bless and comfort you all.

  7. Joann (Mayer) Reinhart says:

    Donna, Maynard & Families,
    Our deepest Sympathy to you & All of your Families & your Dad also. Your Mom was a very great & strong woman. She and your Dad were always so good & friendly to us when we came around. I’m sure she is looking down with pride at her Family.
    Bless all of you at this time of grieving.

    Love, Joann & Don & all of our family

  8. Michele Budnik-Herrington says:

    Such a special lady! Can’t help but smile when I think of her, her pies and her scrubies. I don’t remember her not smiling. Such a giving woman. My thought and prayers go out to all her loved ones.

  9. Phil and Elida Landes says:

    Our prayers are with all of you.
    Revelation 21:3,4

  10. Donna Robbins says:

    Our deepest sympathy in the loss of such a wonderful lady. I would like to share my favorite memory of her telling a story- I may not have all the facts correct, but you’ll get the idea.

    Marlita, Merle’s daughter was away at college & then went on to camp. One day, Merle heard a car pull up to her house, so she peered out the window to see who it was and to her surprise there was a convertible. As the person climbed out of the passenger side Merle began to chuckle. It was Marlita. Merle thought to herself “Marlita just look at your hair”. She inherited the Knight family curly hair & it was long & the wind had blown it into a huge round puffball. Soon her smile fell to “ oh my goodness what has my daughter brought home?” In the back of her mind she hoped that someday Marlita would meet a special man & where else would be better to meet someone than a Christian camp, right? Remember Merle had been in the service so her idea of the perfect man would be clean shaven & maybe even a crew cut. So out come the young man from the car. He was wearing bell bottoms, shiny sunglasses, a mustache & his hair was so long & windswept that it was as big as Marlita’s. It was the man that one day would become Marlita’s husband-Bill Walker.
    As she finished telling the story she had a big grin on her face & a twinkle in her eye. Anytime she spoke of anyone in her family that smile & twinlkle would shine through because even if there were times when “things got blown out of proportion” in the end, Merle loved and was very proud of who her family had become.

  11. Deb Haken says:

    Paul and I send our sympathy and love to you all, feeling connected through our sweet friendship with Marlita and Bill. May fond memories bring comforting tears and may her strong spirit live on in the hearts and lives of all who were impacted by her life and who share her DNA!

  12. Sherry Schumaker says:

    Aunt Merle was such a great Mother and homemaker. I spent alot of hours in her home with Amy and she took great care of us..The service today was beautiful and I was reminded of several sweet things I had forgotten about her, and a few feisty traits that I had forgotten. I can actually hear her saying, I was talking..Our thoughts and prayers will be with all of you going forward.

  13. Gail & Dale Rahn says:

    So very sorry for your loss. Our family has wonderful memories of time spent with your family. I’m grateful for the life long friendship that our parents shared. Merle was a unique, strong and joyful lady. We’ll miss her.

  14. Marlita Walker says:

    Thanks to all for these sweet tributes. Our family will miss Mom’s funny comments and sweet smiles, but we all know that she is enjoying her reunion with her daughters (and perhaps they are letting her talk as long as she wants without interrupting her!!)–and that makes our sadness bearable. Love to each of you.

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