Cover photo for Merle Wilken's Obituary
Merle Wilken Profile Photo
1940 Big W 2024

Merle Wilken

August 6, 1940 — June 22, 2024

Merle Henry Wilken or “Big W” was born August 6, 1940, to parents Melvin and Inez (Kroeger) Wilken. He was baptized into the Presbyterian faith. He attended Ar-We-Va High School and graduated with the class of 1958. Merle married Judith Ossenkop on December 3, 1958. They were blessed with six children: Sherri, Lori, Joni, Marty, Michael, and Matthew.

 From a young age, Merle found his passion in truck driving. He began this journey alongside his grandpa, Henry Wilken, and it soon became not just a career, but a part of who he was. His expertise in recognizing any truck on the highway from afar showcased his deep connection to the road. Customizing his own trucks brought him immense joy, and the sight of him waving hello from his window will be dearly missed by the community he was a part of. 

 Beyond his dedication to truck driving, Big W enjoyed simple pleasures in life. Watching game shows brought him excitement, while playing solitaire on his iPad provided moments of relaxation. Judy's cooking always held a special place in his heart, and indulging in soft-serve ice cream never failed to bring a smile to his face. One of the most treasured memories for Merle was the vacation he shared with Judy in Las Vegas, a time filled with laughter and love.

 Merle passed away on Saturday, June 22, 2024, at the St. Anthony Nursing Home in Carroll at the age of 83 years, ten months and 16 days.

 He is survived by his children: Sherri Grothe, Lori (Gregg) Oeser, Joni Wilken, Marty Wilken, Mike (Laura) Wilken, Matt (Janice) Wilken all of Westside; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; sister, Marcia Wilken of Tustin, California; sister-in-law, Connie Cornelius of Denver, Colorado; brother-in-law, Curt (Denise) Ossenkop of Bennington, Nebraska; and many other relatives and friends.

 He was preceded in death by his wife, Judy; son-in-law, Joe Grothe; granddaughter, Amanda Wilken; brother-in-law, Dale Cornelius; and his parents, Inez and Melvin Wilken.

 Visitation with family greeting friends will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, 2024, at the United Church in Westside. His funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 28, 2024, also at the United Church in Westside with interment to follow in the Westside Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the family. 


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Merle Wilken, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation with Family Greeting Friends

Thursday, June 27, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, June 28, 2024

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 1836

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree