Merrill Sterler, Owner of Hawkeye Point (1930-2004)

Donna and Merrill Sterler on Hawkeye PointMerrill Sterler, owner of the Iowa highpoint and one of the kindest men on the planet, has passed.

Below is his obituary from

You can read an interview Roger Rowlett conducted with the Sterlers in August 2003.

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Former director Merrill Sterler dies

December 22, 2004

Former Basin Electric director Merrill KSterler, 74, of Sibley, IA, died Thursday, Dec. 16, 2004, at the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley.

He was born Feb. 8, 1930, in rural Ashton, IA, the son of Henry and Helen (Miller) Sterler. Sterler attended country school through the 8th grade and graduated from the Ashton Public School in 1948. After school, he worked in the Ashton and Matlock area until entering the U.S. Army in 1951.

On March 10, 1952, he was united marriage to Donna Albers at Trinity Reformed Church in Sibley. Sterler continued his service in the Army during the Korean Conflict, and was discharged in 1953. He and Donna began farming north of Sibley, and remained there until health issues prompted his retirement.

Sterler was a member of the First Reformed Church of Sibley, and was also a member of the George E. Mudge American Legion post 324 of Sibley.

During his life, Sterler enjoyed welcoming visitors from across the United States and from foreign countries to the highest point in Iowa that was located on the Sterler farm. He gave generously of his time as an active member on numerous boards that included his church, his community, and various electric power cooperatives.

Sterler began serving on the Osceala Electric board in Sibley in March of 1970, the L&O Power Cooperative board, Rock Rapids, IA, in March 1980, and was seated on the Basin Electric board of directors in November of 1982 until his retirement in November of 1999. He was also a director of Dakota Gasification Company from 1988 until his retirement, serving as chairman from 1989 through 1998.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Donna Sterler of Sibley; three children and their families: Lori and Mark Vande Brake of Orange City, IA, and their children, Matthew and Jason Balt, and Tony and Mariah Vande Brake; Mark and Esther Sterler of Ocheyedan, IA, and Kathy and Reed Eimers of Le Mars, IA, and their children, Maggie and Sam Van Wettering; one brother, George Sterler of Sheldon, IA; one sister, Dorothy and her husband, Ray Brink, of Sheldon; one brother-in-law, Marvin Albers and his wife, Jane, of Rock Rapids, IA; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Helen Sterler; and one sister-in-law, Norma Sterler.

Funeral services were held on Dec. 20 at the First Reformed Church in Sibley, with the Rev. Gary Van Heukelom officiating. Burial was in the Holman Township Cemetery of Sibley.

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