Merle Ross Masonholder 1943-2018

Merle Masonholder passed away at the Fayette Caring Center March 26, 2018. He was 74 years of age.
Ross Merle Masonholder was born Dec. 16 1943, in Davenport, Iowa, to Guy Ross and Wilma Merle (Dicks) Masonholder. Merle married Kathy L. Buckman June 6, 1965, in Columbus Junction, Iowa.
Merle graduated from Columbus Community High School, Columbus Junction, IA in 1962. During his high school days, he played 3 sports, Football, Basketball, and Track. Football honors were being selected as a two-time All-Conference winner, a First Team All State award winner, and Third team All State award winner. In Track, he received a District Championship in Shot Put as well as a State Championship Runner-Up in Shot Put. He was a starting Center two years for the Basketball team. He was a four letter winner in each sport. Merle graduated from University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1966 with a BA degree in Physical Education and Biology. He participated in Football, being selected as a two-time All Conference player, an Honorable Mention All American player, a member of the North Central Championship Team, and a member of NCAA Division II National Championship team in the Pecan Bowl, Abilene, Texas. The whole team was inducted into UNI’s Hall of Fame in 2010. That team is still the only UNI Football team to win a bowl game. Merle earned a M.A. Degree in Physical Education and Health from Truman State University in 1969. Merle started his teaching and coaching career at Iowa Valley of Marengo High School, Marengo, Iowa in 1969 where he was Head Football Coach winning two Conference Championships and the State of Iowa State Championship for Small Schools. In 1969, he started his first college coaching career at Coe College, Cedar Falls, Iowa as Head Offensive Football Line Coach, Head Wrestling Coach, and was Assistant Professor teaching various classes. In 1971, he became Defensive Coordinator for Football, Head Wrestling Coach and Head Track Coach at Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, IA. The Wrestling team won two conference championships. As an Assistant Professor he taught several classes. In 1978, he became Defensive Coordinator for Football at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, in addition to being Assistant to the Athletic Director. He taught several classes there as well. He then moved on to Carroll University, Waukesha, WI in 1980 where he became Head Football Coach, Head Wrestling Coach, Athletic Trainer, and Athletic Director. He was also in charge of Weight Training. He taught several classes. He remained there for 22 years. Honors for the Football Team included winning the CCIW Conference Co-championship in 1988, winning the Midwest Conference Championship in 1997, and Merle was named Coach of the year in 1988. He had 13 winning seasons in the last 14 years of coaching football. He still is the winningest coach at Carroll University in the history of the school. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. He started another career at Central Methodist University in 2002. He was Head Football Coach for 7 years, retired from coaching and taught several classes as an Associate Professor for an additional 5 years before retiring. His love for working with students and teaching was most important to him throughout his career.
Survivors include his wife, Kathy, of 53 years, his daughter, Heidi Masonholder of Columbia, his two brothers, Dr. Brian (Jill) Masonholder from Columbus Junction, Iowa and Ronald (Charlotte) Masonholder from Hopewell, IL. Besides his parents, Merle was preceded in death by his daughter, Holly Masonholder, and his sister, Carla Harris.
A memorial service honoring his life will be held at 1:00 pm on April 14, 2018 at Linn Memorial United Methodist Church in Fayette, MO with Rev. David Hutchinson officiating. Burial will be private at a latter date in the Fayette Walnut Ridge Cemetery.
Memorials are suggested for Central Methodist Athletic Department or Cancer Research in care of Friemonth-Freese Funeral Home, 174 Highway 5 and 240 N. Fayette, MO 65248.

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