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Merlin Thomas Denlinger

December 29, 1938 ~ December 8, 2018 (age 79)

Merlin passed away peacefully in his home after a ten year battle with Alzheimer’s. He was a loving brother, husband, father and grandfather.

He was born on December 29, 1938 in Englewood, Ohio, and graduated from the schools there. He came from a large family of eight, six boys and two girls, and spent his childhood on the family farm. The six brothers spent many days hunting in the woods for rabbits and squirrels, and swimming in the pond behind their home.

When Merlin was 21 years of age, he came to California to visit friends and relatives and to live out here if there was a good reason. One stormy winter night, there was a youth group party from church at Lowell Beachler’s house. Sherry was there and he soon decided that she was his reason to move to California. The evening was spent singing gospel songs with his beloved Gibson Guitar and learning to know new friends, many that he kept for life. That was the beginning of many years of his love for music and fellowshipping around God’s Word. He loved to read his Bible, especially the Book of Romans.

Merlin and Sherry were married July 7, 1962, and had two sons, Monty Lee and Todd Michael. At the age of 29, he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and that set him on a path of service and he became involved in many ministries over the years. His family was the absolute center of his life and everything he did from that moment on was for them. Merlin loved deer hunting and golfing, but most of all, he loved to sing gospel music with friends and family. He went to the Modesto Gospel Mission for 40 years and would still be going if he had not become ill.

Merlin was an Architectural Draftsman for many years and designed many beautiful homes in Modesto and the surrounding areas. He owned M.T.D. Engineering Graphics for fifteen years, but when it became apparent that something was clearly affecting his health, he had to retire.

Merlin is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Sherry Denlinger, two sons, Monte Lee (Malinda) Denlinger and Todd Michael (Rachael) Denlinger, four grandchildren, Levi, Anika, Noah and Joshua Denlinger, brothers Eldon (Phyllis) Denlinger, Floyd Denlinger, Don (Shirley) Denlinger, sister, Faye (Paul) Garber, sister-in-law, Doris Denlinger, sister-in-law & brother-in-law, Carolyn & Tom Balsbaugh, and many nieces and nephews.

Merlin is preceded in death by his father, Paul Denlinger, Mother Emma Denlinger, two brothers, Ramon Denlinger and Bill Denlinger, one sister, Norma Fisher, one brother-in-law, John Fisher, sister-in-laws, Esther Denlinger, Helen Denlinger, Edna Denlinger, and one nephew, Eddie Fisher.

The circle is broken here on this earth to be reunited in heaven.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Deegan Ripon Memorial Chapel. A Visitation will be held on Thursday, December 13, 2018 from 4-7pm at Deegan Ripon Memorial Chapel, 111 S. Palm Avenue in Ripon. A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, December 14th at 10am at Ripon Grace Church, 734 W. Main Street in Ripon, followed by a graveside service at Wood Colony Cemetery, 3511 N. Dakota Avenue in Modesto. For condolences to the family, please visit his online guestbook at


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