Mert was born to Donald and Edith (Gramhill) Iliff on November 26, 1928. He was the youngest of three children, graduating from Elk River High School.
Mert served in the US Army and states he had a bit of a wild side but his life changed drastically when he asked Jesus to be his Savior.
In 1959 he married Inga Eckles and in 1960 Mert and Inga moved to Zimmerman MN to the” little white house” on the corner where they lived for 53 years.
They had three children, Brenda, Tammy and Tony. Mert worked for Hoffman Engineering in Anoka and enjoyed his hobby farm. He raised beef cattle and enjoyed many years of selling his black dirt and was fondly known as “dirty Mert.”
Mert and Inga spent over 20 years of retirement together enjoying the church and community they so loved. Mert particularly enjoyed his time in the jails, volunteering at the thrift store, visiting others and just loving people. He and Inga were active in their church, the Zimmerman Evangelical Free Church. He enjoyed many years of riding in the State Fair as an officer on horse with his brother Darrell.
Mert was best known for his Jesus pictures, his crosses, cowboy hats, visiting others with his constant partner Inga, and his welcoming and loving spirit. He will be remembered for his years of providing candy for all the kids at church, his open arms welcoming people, and his hugs, which he called “Jesus love medicine”.
Mert was preceded in death by his parents and brother Darrell. He is lovingly survived by his wife and partner for 53 years, Inga and his sister Marguerite Welin (Princeton, MN). He is also survived by his three children, Brenda (Alan) Iliff-Lawver (Naples, Florida), Tammy Iliff (St. Cloud, MN) and Tony Iliff (Forest Lake, MN) and other loved people who call him their second father. Mert and Inga have several grandchildren and great grandchildren, some through blood and many through love.
Memorials preferred to Zimmerman Evangelical Free Church.
Funeral Service will be 11 AM, Thursday January 31, 2013 at Zimmerman Evangelical Free Church, Zimmerman. Visitation was 4-7 PM Wednesday January 30th, 2013 at Dare’s Funeral Home, Elk River (763-441-1212) and one hour prior to service Thursday at church. Interment Livonia Cemetery.