On April 6, Merlyn Hedin celebrated his 85th birthday surrounded by his family and friends. Hours later on April 7, he surrendered his battle with cancer and entered into the kingdom of heaven to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The first child of James and Edith Hedin, he was born in DeSart, N.D. His parents moved to Billings in 1936. Merlyn served in the European Theater during World War II. Upon his honorary discharge, he worked at various selling jobs until enrolling at the University of Montana. At the U of M "The Grizzlies" became his favorite life long team and he met the love of his life, Marlene Bredberg. Upon her graduation they were married in 1953. In 1956 they were blessed with a daughter, Marnae, and in 1958 with a son, Mark.
Music was a very important part of his life. He played trombone in the Rotary Boys Band, the Senior High Band and the 114th U.S. Army Band. After graduating from college he was the morning announcer at KBMN in Bozeman. After marriage Marlene and he made their home in Billings where he became the evening announcer at KBMY. Later he switched to sales and eventually became sales manager. While at KBMY he became the tour leader for the first Montana Goodwill Tour to Europe and Russia. Two of the people on the tour offered to back him in buying the radio station KPOW in Powell, Wyo. In 1963 he sold his interest in KPOW and became associated with KRTV Television in Great Falls. However, he missed radio and joined KGHL in Billings as sales manager until purchasing KCRT in Trinidad, Colo., in 1967. In 1971 he sold KCRT and returned to Billings. In 1973 he purchased KHDN in Hardin and sold it in 1978. Merlyn was proud of his broadcasting career where he turned three unsuccessful radio stations into winners and built complete new stations at each location. He enjoyed the music, selling advertising, and announcing baseball, basketball and football games.
He and his son Mark began Rimrock Promotions in 1983, which produced The Billings Home Improvement Show. They grew it to become the largest trade show in a five state area. In 1997 he retired from the business. His son Mark, daughter-in-law Rhonda, and grandson BeauJames continue the business. He was very proud of the successful business they built and had many fond memories of their association.
He enjoyed fishing (especially in Canada), sports of all kinds, and traveling, including family trips to Germany, Mexico, and Switzerland and numerous vacations within the United States. Cruises with his wife to Alaska, The Caribbean, and The Panama Canal, along with trips abroad to Australia, Denmark, Greece, Hawaii, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Yugoslavia were treasured times together.
He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Marlene; daughter, Marnae; son, Mark, and daughter-in-law, Rhonda; five grandchildren, Andrea, Nichole (husband Erik), Whitney, BeauJames (wife Emily); and DevonJames; two great-grandchildren, Madison (BeauJames/Emily), and Skyler (Andrea); a sister Donna; a brother Lyle; and loyal companion of 13 years, his dog, Zach. His parents and two brothers, Lowell and DuWayne, preceded him in death.
"Your life reflected Christian faith, integrity, and generosity. Forever will these qualities be engraved in our hearts. You were our foundation and will be missed dearly - until we meet again," Your Family.
Baptized in the Christian faith, Merlyn was an active member of Apostles Lutheran Church since 1971. Funeral services will be held there on Wednesday, April 11, at 1 p.m. A special thanks to Journey Hospice who made his final weeks more comfortable. Memorials may be made to Apostles Lutheran Church, The Montana Rescue Mission, or Journey Hospice.