Rev. Dr. and U.S. Army Chaplain Merrill O. Challman [LTC, Ret] born October 23, 1920, to Oscar and Elnora Challman in Moline, IL, died on August 5, 2017, in Louisville, KY, a community he loved. He was 96 years old.
He is survived by Beth Challman, his dearly loved wife of 74 years, by four sons, Timothy, Daniel, Donald and Ronald, by one daughter, Carolyn Lanham. His second daughter, Marilyn Shelby, passed to her heavenly home ahead of him. He is missed by his nine grandchildren, Kristoffer, Erik, Tia, Daniel Jr., Cristin, Carrie, Elizabeth, Lauren and Gregory; his step-grandson, Conrad; eight great-grandchildren, Jacob, Joseph, Mathias, Etienne, Mina, Lyra, Iris, and Oliver; two step-great grandsons, Jackson and Carter.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942, serving in WWII and in the Army Reserves before again being called to active duty. After his ordination in the United Methodist Church, he served three pastorates in Tennessee and Illinois but was once again called to active military status in 1950, serving as an Army Chaplain at Fort Carson, Colorado and in Korea.
Following military service in Korea and a five-year assignment at Ashland United Methodist Church in Illinois, he was yet again called to active duty in 1957 during the Cold War, serving in the Third Armored Division in Germany. He continued to serve as an active duty Army Chaplain until his retirement in 1973, including service with the chaplain's corps in and around Qui Nhon, Vietnam, with the U.S. Army contingent in Thailand and at base chapels in MD, PA, IL, NY, and KY, retiring from Fort Knox as a Lieutenant Colonel after twenty-eight years of service to our nation.
Upon retirement, he served United Methodist congregations in Corydon and Salem, IN. In 1979, he and his family joined Beechmont United Methodist Church in Louisville. Later, in their retirement, he and his wife Beth became members of St. Paul U.M.C.
He was called to serve For God and Country [Pro Deo et Patria]. He was a preacher and a soldier. He was a generous and giving spirit, full of life, always compassionate. He was also firm and could be tough as nails. He was a loving husband and father and at the same time a humble servant of his fellow man. He did not fear death because he knew he was in the hands of God.
The visitation will be at 10 AM Saturday, August 12, 2017, at Saint Paul United Methodist Church, Louisville, KY. The funeral with full military honors will follow at 11 AM with Rev. Darren Brandon officiating. A private family inurnment will follow on Monday. Arch L. Heady at Resthaven, for arrangements. Instead of flowers, donations are suggested to Lindsey Wilson College.