Steven Claude Merchant

To view the plants and flowers from Steven’s service, access: Steven Merchant Flower Pictures 

Steven Merchant, 73, Minot, North Dakota, passed away on Thursday May 30th, 2024 in a Minot Hospital. 

Steven Claude Merchant was born on January 16th, 1951, in LaPorte, Indiana, to parents Claude and Ruth (Anderson) Merchant.

He resided in La Porte throughout his childhood. In his youth, Steve’s passion for music led him to join the local LaPorte band, “The The”, in which he played the guitar. He continued with the band throughout his high school years, while also playing on the school baseball team. He later graduated from LaPorte High School in 1969. 

Following high school, Steven enlisted in the United States Air Force. He proudly embarked on a 26-year journey with the Air Force, serving his country with honor and distinction. His career took him across various destinations across the globe; most notably Columbus, Ohio, to Taiwan, Okinawa, Tucson, Victorville, England, Riverside, and finally, to his beloved Minot, where he settled in 1982. His most memorable time in the military was when he was deployed to Vietnam, where he flew over various areas to drop supplies during the war. During his career, his dedicated service achieved him a final rank of Senior Master Sergeant.

Steven was once married to Judith Corrbett in 1969, and later to Cheryl Collins in 1978. In 2000, he met the love of his life Bernadette Lauinger (Bernie). The couple were together up until Bernie passed away in 2010.

After his military service, Steve pursued his academic aspirations, earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Minot State University. He later found fulfillment in substitute teaching and spent his later years dealing cards at local establishments before retiring.

Steve’s generosity and warmth knew no bounds. He delighted in ferrying his granddaughters to and from school and summer activities, and cherished the tradition of Sunday dinners with his second wife, son, and 3 granddaughters. In his free time, Steven found joy in baseball, NASCAR, football, military history, and sharing his passion for NCIS with his granddaughter, Ava.

Steven was preceded in death by: his parents, Claude and Ruth Merchant; brother, Randy Merchant, and love of his life, Bernie Lauinger. 

Steven is survived by: his children, Michael Merchant (Minot, ND), and Shelly Schrimpf (Phoenix, AZ); grandchildren, Brianna Evans, Jeremy Schrimpf, Ava Merchant, Ella Merchant, Addison Merchant, and Kenya Larson; great grandchildren, Ezekiel Evans, Lilian Evans, and Eleanor Schrimpf; sister, Pamela McDonald, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Other family members include Mitch Larson and Jen Barker. 

Celebration of Steven’s Life: Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. in the Thomas Family Funeral Home Chapel, Minot.

Visitation: Monday, June 3, 2024 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the Thomas Family Funeral Home, Minot.

Interment: Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.

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