Merle E.L. Knight, age 94, of Otsego, MI joined friends and family members in Heaven on February 22, 2018, departing her earthly home at Park Village Pines, Kalamazoo. Born April 14, 1923 in Midale, Montana, Merle was the 3rd child of six born to Carroll E. and Myrtle (Bannan) Landes. As a girl she enjoyed living on a farm with many animals, 4-H Club sewing and attending a one-room schoolhouse where the Landes kids made up one-half of the attending children. After graduating from Mason High School in Mason, MI, Merle joined the workforce as a waitress at the Olympia Restaurant in downtown Kalamazoo where she met her soon to be husband, Maynard "Shorty" Knight. Roller skating at Northlake Roller Rink, playing cards with Maynard's siblings and attending many sporting events cinched the love in their hearts and Shorty proposed in December 1942however, World War II interrupted their plans. After Maynard departed for the Army, Merle was determined to also serve her country and joined the Navy WAVES in October 1944 where she was stationed at Cecil Field, Jacksonville, FL. "Lefty" proudly played on the first WAVES softball team as an outfielder in 1945. On September 27, 1946, after their military discharges, Merle married Maynard and settled in Otsego. Primarily a stay at home mom to five, Merle found many ways to serve her community over the years: as Otsego Band Boosters President and "pie maker extraordinaire" for the Allegan County Fair Band Booster Booth, as a 4-H leader for over 15 years, as a proud lifetime league bowler (over 50 years) at Plainwell Lanes, as an election worker for the Otsego Township Democratic Party for many years and as a committed fan of sporting events for her children and grandchildren, of whom she was extremely proud. Her devoted family will remember her as a classy and feisty lady, who loved well and crocheted constantly! ("Her children respect and bless her." Proverbs 31:28 msg) Surviving along with her husband of 71 years are her three children, 2 sons-in-law and 11 grandchildren: Andrew & Pam Knight (Jef & Jamie Sue Knight and Adam & Samantha Knight), Steve & Pam DeBoer (Chris & Kara DeBoer and Curt & Amy DeBoer), Bill & Marlita Knight Walker (Teg & Mikkel Walker Tegelaar, Ben & Jenny Walker and Keith & Melody Walker Hendren), Andy & Trish Winter (Joe & Amanda Winter Tiseo and Allison Winter) Maynard & Donna Knight (Brett Knight and Alise Knight); 19 great-grandchildren with 2 more on the way; sister, Doris Landes Herrington; sisters-in-law, Reva Knight and Gloria Ritchie and many nieces and nephews. Merle was preceded in death by her daughters, Arlene Knight DeBoer and Amy Knight Winter; her sisters Alta Landes Carpenter and Hazel Landes Cassell; her brothers, Howard Landes and Keith Landes as well as many sisters and brothers-in-law. Friends may visit with Merle's family starting at 11:00 A.M., Monday, February 26, 2018, until the time of the funeral service at 12:00 P.M. at the Otsego United Methodist Church with Reverend Bill Walker officiating. A luncheon at the church will follow. A private family burial will take place at Mountain Home Cemetery in Otsego at a later time. Contributions in memory of Merle may be directed to the Park Village Pines Employee Appreciation Fund, which will encourage and support the amazing staff who deeply loved Merle.