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Arlene H. Merchant, 90

January 5, 2018
Traer Star-Clipper

Arlene Merchant passed away peacefully at Windsor Manor in Vinton on Tuesday, December 26, 2017. She was 90 years old.

A celebration of Arlene's life will begin with visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, December 28, 2017, at Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home, Vinton, with a 7 p.m. Rosary service, and one hour prior to Mass at church on Friday. Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Friday, December 29, 2017, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Vinton with Father Ardel Barta as Celebrant. Interment will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Vinton.

Arlene Helen Kosnar was born August 7, 1927, on a farm south of Dysart, Iowa, the daughter of Albert and Sophie Holubar Kosnar. At a very young age, she began taking accordion lessons and her love of music was born! She played the accordion for dances and, one evening, was asked to play for a dance in Garrison. There she met a young man who also played the accordion. They enjoyed playing in the band for many years, even after they married.

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On April 14, 1947, Arlene was united in marriage with Jerry Merchant at St. Mary Catholic Church in Vinton. They farmed Arlene's parents' farm in rural Dysart for several years, then moved to various communities where Jerry ran businesses. The couple enjoyed dancing polkas and waltzes throughout their 61 years together. Jerry preceded her in death on January 23, 2009.

To this union were born four children, all whom survive: Pat (Larry) Dawson of Marion; Penny (Scott) Olson of Cedar Rapids; Ed Merchant of Cedar Rapids; and Paula (Ron) Olsen of Cedar Falls. Arlene is also survived by five grandchildren: Jen (Jason) Arndt, Scott (Trisha) and Jill Olson, and Logan (Barb) and Casey Olsen; three great-grandchildren: Erich Arndt, Brianna Olson and Dylan Olsen; brother, Lester Kosnar; and sisters-in-law Ida Kosnar and Joyce Vosdingh.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; brother Joe Kosnar and sister Gladys Gillam.

Arlene was a wonderful cook. She made delicious kolaches and was so proud of her Czech heritage. She bowled on league for nearly 50 years. She could never sit still when a good waltz or polka were being played; even as recently as two months ago, she would enjoy dancing with her daughters during music time at the manor! Her favorite saying was that music was her middle name and she was still kicking, just not as high!

She will be missed so much by all those who loved her. We know Mom is dancing with Dad in Heaven!

A memorial fund has been established.

Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home of Vinton is caring for Arlene and her family. Condolences may be left at



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