Farming Rural 21

Merle M. Lyda

January 16, 1932 ~ November 11, 2020 (age 88)


Merle Marion Lyda was born in Bridger, Montana January 16, 1932 to Clyde and Olive Lyda.  He died November 11, 2020 (Veteran’s Day) due to complications of a COVID-19 infection.  He grew up on a farm with 5 siblings in Fromberg, Montana.  Merle joined the US Marine Corps and served during the Korean War.  He received his bachelor’s degree of agricultural education and master’s degree in applied science from Montana State University.  He was a County Extension Agent in Billings, Dillon, Kalispell, and Whitehall Montana.  This Montana State University position was responsible for county 4-H programs, and education services for farmers, ranchers, and the community.  As part of this education effort he had weekly newspaper columns and a radio program in the 1970s in Kalispell, MT where he would share with the community varying topics such as gardening tips, weed and insect control, farm crop information etc.  .  He started each program with “This is Merle Lyda, Flathead County Extension Agent”, and ended the program with “For the County Extension Agent report, This is Merle Lyda”.  

Merle was president of the Montana Association of County agents and in 1972 was honored with the Distinguished Service Award of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.  He judged many 4-H and animal projects and exhibits at county fairs and enjoyed watching the 4-H youth grow to responsible adults.

Merle was always an optimistic person.  He was a long-time gardener of both flowers and vegetables and always had a large or small garden.  He also liked fishing, where his optimism kept him going, even though we never caught many fish.  Merle spent a lot of his retirement years helping take care of his father and his mother-in-law Marjorie Johnson.

Merle is survived by his Wife of 64 years, LaVida, 2 children Rochelle (Craig) Joy (Longmont, CO) and Clark (Karen) Lyda (Denver, CO), 2 Grandchildren, David (Travis) Joy and Elizabeth Lyda, 2 sisters Darlene Tietz (Centennial, CO) and Cheri Bauwens (Fromberg, MT) and numerous nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents and 3 brothers, Stuart, Clyde Eugene (Gene) and Claire Lyda.

Due to the corona virus, there will be a limited service. His ashes will be interred at the veteran’s cemetery in Ft. Logan, Colorado at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of your choice.

As a tribute to his life and career he will sign off now: “For the County Extension Agent report, This is Merle Lyda”


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