January 22, 2022

Dorothy Ella Stengel Merz

Dorothy Ella Stengel Merz, 90, died February 27, 2017 at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, KS. Dot was born April 28, 1926 in Chadron, Nebraska, the daughter of Reverend Paul Herman Carl Stengel, Sr. and Johanna Marie Steinmeier Stengel. Dorothy was baptized by her father on May 2, 1926 at Chadron and confirmed by her father on April 2, 1939. She attended St. Paul’s Parochial School grades 1 – 8 and high school at Lincoln High School, Lincoln, KS for 2 ½ years. The family moved to Deerfield, KS in January of 1943 where Dot finished and graduated from Deerfield High School in 1944. She enrolled in nursing cadet school at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City in 1945.
On March 10, 1946 Dot married John Albert Merz at Deerfield, KS. The ceremony was officiated by Rev. Paul H.C. Stengel, Sr., her father. The couple set up their life together on a farm north of Deerfield, KS. Their children include: Marilyn Sue, Lavon Kaye, Sharon LeAnn, and Debra Gayle.
The family moved to Garden City in June of 1961 where Dot was able to continue the pursuit of a career in nursing. She worked at St. Catherine Hospital for 38 years, first as a nurse’s aid and later as a registered nurse after completion of an Associate Degree in Nursing from Garden City Community College in 1977. She retired from St. Catherine Hospital in 1999. During her tenure at St. Catherine she also worked at Garden Valley Retirement Village part-time and continued there for several years after retirement for a total of 9 years. 
As a member of Trinity Lutheran Church for 56 years, Dot was passionate about witnessing her faith and being a disciple for Christ. Over the years, she taught and supported Sunday School, Midweek School, & Bible School. She was a member of the Social Ministry Board, Christian Growth Committee, the Altar Committee (which included sewing banners for the sanctuary), and Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, at times serving as president of the local organization. As a trained Stephen Ministry Leader, she was able to witness her unwavering faith in God. Ever faithful in her worship, she rarely missed a church service and attended every Bible Study group possible. To continue her involvement in the church as she grew older, she was instrumental in initiating the tape ministry at Trinity, sewed blankets for the Baptismal Faith Chests, and helped establish a senior women’s group called “The Get-Together Girls.”
Hobbies Dot enjoyed include; ceramics, making porcelain dolls, sewing, spending time with her grandchildren, and baking her famous checkerboard square cakes. She had an extensive collection of Noah’s Ark collectibles. In an age of technology, Dot still enjoyed sending handwritten letters and cards to friends and relatives on a regular basis. 
Family and friends remember Dot as very generous, loving, patient and kind. She was always ready and willing to help her family or anyone in need. Even the birds and squirrels that frequented her back yard were provided for and admired from her kitchen windows.  
Survivors include: 4 daughters, Marilyn Gosling & husband Tyrone Williams, Rio Vista, CA, Kaye Kuhlman & husband Grady, Sharon Parks & husband Wayne, Debra Staats & husband Walter, all of Garden City, a sister, Joan Harms, Oregon City, OR, and sister-in-law, Gloria Stengel, Lincoln, NE. The following grandchildren also survive: Tiffany Owens, Derek Kuhlman & wife Cyndi, William (Bill) Parks & wife Rachelle, Melanie Schreffler & husband Robert, Cindy Matzek & husband Paul, Jeremy Fouse & wife Amy, Lana Aguirre & husband Sergio, Angela Deal & husband Chad, Kayla Kuhlman, Sarah Staats & partner Eric Richardson, Nathan Staats & partner Samantha Ricard, 27 great grandchildren and 9 great, great grandchildren. Dot was preceded in death by: her husband, John A. Merz, her parents, Rev. Paul H. C. and Johanna Stengel, two brothers, Rev. Paul H.C. Stengel, Jr. & James F. Stengel, a sister, Eunice G. Stengel, and a great grandson, Dustin L. Kuhlman.  
Funeral will be Friday, March 3, 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church. Burial will be at Valley View Cemetery, Garden City.
Visitation hours are from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday and from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday all at Garnand Funeral Home in Garden City. Memorials are suggested to Garden City Community College Nursing Program or Trinity Lutheran Church, in care of the funeral home.