Cover photo for Merrill Jean Frydendall's Obituary
Merrill Jean Frydendall Profile Photo

Merrill Jean Frydendall

March 28, 1934 — July 31, 2022

Merrill Jean Frydendall

Merrill Jean Frydendall, age 88, of Mankato, passed away on Sunday, July 31, 2022. Memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., on Saturday, August 6, 2022, at Hilltop United Methodist Church, Mankato. Visitation will be held from 5-7:30 p.m., on Friday, August 5, 2022, at Northview – North Mankato Mortuary, and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday. Burial will be in Minneopa Cemetery, Mankato. To view a livestream of the service visit In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to The Friends of Minneopa, Boy Scouts of America, or Lifelong Learners.

Merrill Jean Frydendall was born to Milo Elgin and Bessie Bernetha (Goheen) Frydendall on March 28, 1934, in Portis, KS. He graduated from Ft. Hays Kansas State College in Hays, KS with a B.S. in 1956 and M.S. in 1960, having served two years (1957-1959) in the U.S. Army. In August 1959 he married Karen Laizure in Hays, KS. He continued his education and in 1966 graduated from Utah State University with a Ph.D. in Vertebrate Ecology. From Fall of 1966 to June 1998 he taught vertebrate biology courses, including Ornithology, at Mankato State University. Merrill and Karen raised two children and were happy to see them grow into successful and positive members of society. He was a loving and supportive grandfather of four granddaughters.

Merrill developed a love of the outdoors and animal life as a young boy. As an adult he loved his students and teaching, sending many of his students off with their Master’s degrees to contribute to the health and welfare of our animals in the wild and in zoos, with others passing on their knowledge and passion to further generations of students. He became a Scoutmaster with The Boy Scouts of America, helping boys develop skills and healthy values to carry them through life. Six Scouts earned the Eagle rank under his leadership. Merrill himself received The Silver Beaver, the highest adult award in Scouting. He also was active in FFA, coaching students for their annual wildlife contest. He was a long-time member of the Minnesota Ornithological Union, serving a term as President and received the Thomas Roberts Sadler Memorial Award, its highest honor, in 2015. Merrill was one of the founding members of Friends of Minneopa and served as President for several years. He organized Mankato Bird Club in 1980. This group constructed 50 Eastern Bluebird nest boxes and placed them throughout Minneopa State Park, significantly increasing the number of bluebirds there. Merrill walked the trail weekly during breeding season, checking the boxes and banding the nestlings. Merrill organized the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count in Mankato and administered it for many years. He will be ever loved and missed by his family.

Merrill is survived by his wife of 63 years, Karen; children, Edwin (Gladys) Frydendall, and Laura (Craig) Sievert; grandchildren, Kaia Sievert, Kellen (Kevin Campion) Sievert, Brenna (Austin) Bushman, and Mattea Sievert; siblings, Sue (Larry) Geiger, Gaylene (Dwight) Wiehl, Larry (Dronda) Frydendall; sisters-in-law, Marilyn Frydendall, and Patricia Frydendall, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Merrill was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Charles Frydendall, and LeRoy Frydendall; nephews and niece, Michael Frydendall, Curtis Frydendall, and Mary Jane Frydendall.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Merrill Jean Frydendall, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Friday, August 5, 2022

5:00 - 7:30 pm (Central time)

Northview - North Mankato Mortuary

2060 Commerce Dr, North Mankato, MN 56003

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Memorial Service

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Hilltop United Methodist Church

108 S Manitou Dr, Mankato, MN 56001

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