Merrilee Anderson, 53, of rural Cottonwood, died Saturday, August 12, 2017 at Minneota Manor in Minneota. Funeral services will be held on Friday, August 18, at 10:30 a.m. at Marshall Evangelical Free Church. Pastor Don LeClere will officiate and burial will be at the Cottonwood Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Thursday from 5-8:00 p.m. at the Marshall Evangelical Free Church with a Prayer Service at 7:00 p.m. There will also be visitation at the church for one hour before the funeral.

Merrilee came into this world on October 8, 1963 in Canby. She was born to Robert and Janis (Larson) Hanson. She attended Canby High School and graduated in 1982. Following high school, she decided to go to North Park University, Chicago and then transferred to St. Cloud State. Merrilee chose to be baptized during her time in St. Cloud to publically declare her faith in Jesus Christ. She graduated with her teaching degree in Elementary Education in 1987.

Merrilee married the love of her life, Erik Anderson, on the hot and dry summer day of July 30, 1988 at the Dawson Covenant Church. Merrilee and Erik made their home on the Elbow Farm of rural Cottonwood. She used her teaching degree by teaching for a few years at the Marshall Area Christian School (True Light), substitute teaching in surrounding towns, and by teaching English as Second Language (ESL). Merrilee spent her time investing in kids and people wherever she went. She was active in her church as a teacher in Sunday School, preschool, and the AWANA ministry.

She was an active and passionate member of Moms in Prayer in Cottonwood and Marshall. Merrilee had a gift of compassion for those in need. She invested her heart’s compassion by participating in mission trips with the church. Over the years she went on trips to the Dominican Republic, Kentucky, and Sierra Leone, West Africa. Not only did she go on missions, she participated by encouraging, praying for, and actively supporting long-term missionaries in Alaska, the Middle East, West Africa, Ecuador, and numerous other countries.

In addition, Merrilee enjoyed volunteering in school classrooms at Lakeview. Her greatest investment was in her marriage and in her three children. She spent time laughing, crying, listening, encouraging, and correcting them and has eternally impacted their lives. Merrilee loved being active outside. She was a successful deer hunter and spent time searching the fields for Native-American artifacts, riding with Erik on the combine and tractor, sitting outside with her family and friends, and it always made her day when she could chase snakes while mowing lawn. She showed her love for music by playing the guitar, flute, and piano and singing for the Song of The Prairie Chorus.

She enjoyed baking, cooking and sharing with her friends, especially tator tot hot dish. She thrived by connecting deeply with other women, and writing notes and letters of encouragement to many friends of hers. Merrilee is greatly missed.

She is survived by her mother, Janis Hanson, Canby; husband, Erik, Cottonwood; children: Kayla, Lee, and Matthew; sister, Wendy (Jim) Bain, North St. Paul; and brothers, Tim Hanson, Minneapolis and Mark (Lenora) Hanson, Littleton, CO. She was preceded in death by her father, Robert Hanson and daughter, Rebecca.