Merle Dean Kilgore

My grandfather

Merle Dean Kilgore was born May 31, 1930. He fought in the Army during the Korean war. He was the trigger man on a BAR team. Two assistant gunners on his team were killed. The longest he went without changing his clothes or bathing in Korea was two weeks.

Stateside, he married Doris. On a double date, she left her purse in his car so that he would have to bring it back and see her again.

He worked for NPPD. In the early years, he and his young family lived in a trailer and moved around the state putting up the electric poles and lines. He climbed a lot of utility poles. On some vacations, especially the one to Canada, he would take his family driving country roads, looking for electric wires strung along the old glass electric insulators. When he found one, he would climb the pole with the kit he kept in his trunk, replace the old insulator with a modern one, and add the glass insulator to his collection.

A blue glass insulator next to a business card of Merle D. Kilgore, District Manager, Nebraska Public Power District

His father was an alcoholic. Merle never touched alcohol. His mother had an unusual level of financial knowledge for the time, and invested well. She passed on financial knowledge to her children. Merle put money into the stock market his whole career, lived modestly, and retired a millionaire at 59½. It's unlikely that any of his friends or neighbors knew how much money he had, since he never spent it on anything large and would never talk about it.

He was a worker. After he retired, he and his wife volunteered for his church denomination, constructing church buildings in the south during winter and the north during summer. He was a useful carpenter and electrician.

Every spring when they got back, they would visit us a few days later. He would ask my dad "so, what are we doing?" He wanted a project to work on. He helped build a porch, re-run ancient wires, finish our basement, hang sheetrock, insulate and put on a new roof.

When he wasn't working on a project, he watched war movies and the history channel from his la-z-boy.

After his stroke he couldn't really work on projects any more, which was obviously hard on him, though he never said anything about it.

He didn't talk much. He was not a conversationalist. He knew that I had silver and bitcoin, and would occasionally say something about it, but I was too dumb to hold an intelligent conversation with him about the financial markets that he was keeping track of. I wish I had been capable of learning from him and keeping his high financial literacy from dying with him.

In 2018 he had a medical episode and several organs started to fail. He was laying down on the living room carpet, unable to get up, but he and his wife decided to wait until the next morning to see if it was worth doing anything about.

In the hospital bed, a nurse described some mechanical options that could keep his kidneys and liver going a while longer, and he just shook his head. He died about a week later in my parents' house.

He had two daughters. I think he was fairly suspicious of my parents having so many kids, though I didn't hear him say anything about it, but by the time we started growing up I think he was on board.

Though he was a Christian, he didn't have the theory necessary to pass godliness on to his own children. Thankfully, one of his daughters was converted at college and decided to have lots of kids. He has more than a dozen great-grandkids in the world right now, and will probably end up with at least double that number. He is on track to have a large number of descendants serving God at the end of history.