Remembering Merry Ketterling

Merry Ketterling
Merry Ketterling

Merry Louise (Claymore) Ketterling, retired secretary for the Indian Studies department, of Larimore, N.D., passed away on Sunday, July 11, at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks. She was 84.

She was born at her family home in Wakpala, S.D., on Dec. 24, 1936.  Merry was raised in Ft. Yates, N.D., where she attended Mission School and later graduated from Ft. Yates High School in 1954.

Following high school, she attended X-ray school at The School of Medical Technology in Minneapolis  On Oct. 15, 1955, Merry was united in marriage to Willard (Willy) Ketterling in Ft. Yates. The couple lived in Wahpeton, N.D., before moving to Grand Forks, where Willy attended UND.

In 1960, Merry and Willy moved to Carson, N.D., where she worked as the secretary for the Grant County State’s Attorney. She was on the board for the Grant County Draft Board, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and an active member of the Women’s Legion Auxiliary.

In 1975, the couple moved to Larimore. Merry was employed with Northwood Deaconess Medical Health Center and continued to volunteer as an EMT. She volunteered several years for the Red River Hospice program. Later Merry worked as the Secretary to the Superintendent of Larimore Public Schools.

She joined UND as the secretary for the American Indian Studies Department while working toward a bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies. Merry was especially proud of the fact that she was able to contribute many items to the UND American Indian Cultural Center. She was the proud recipient of the UND Martin Luther King Award for her strong belief in the need for inclusion and diversity.

Merry is survived by her children, Sandra Claymore, Taos, NM; Amy Ketterling, Dickinson, ND; Tracy Ketterling, Larimore, ND; Rene’ Rynestad (Todd), Catlett, VA; and Nathan Ketterling (Anna), Fargo.  Grandchildren, Ash Rolshoven Loveless (Tyler), Jared Sampson, Zane Forster (Melissa), Seth Forster, Kaitlyn Gorrell (Clint), Libby Kick (Tate), Bobby Joe Smith III, Christian Thomas, Tessa Claymore, Friday Elijah Thomas, Basil Rynestad, Sadie Rynestad (Joe), Caden Rynestad, Austin Ketterling, and Ian Ketterling. Great-grandchildren, Landon Lakota Loveless; Sequoia, Aiden, Josiah, Avery, and Arya Sampson; Donny Forster; Jack Manolovits; Carter, Anastasia, and Adriana Forster; Dak and Mav Kick.

Merry was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Elizabeth Claymore; her sisters, Thelma and LaVina; her brothers, Earl and Gernell; her in-laws, Edgar and Rosetta Ketterling, along with numerous other family members.

A Celebration of Life gathering will be held in Mandan, N.D., at a later date.