Joseph Merle Alt, 83, of Baraboo, was born July 22, 1935, in a log cabin on a farm in Sauk County, to Joseph (Sep) and Edith (Phettyplace) Alt; he passed suddenly on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.
In the beginning of his first grade, it was decided by his parents to use Merle, his middle name, as his primary name. Merle graduated eighth grade from a one-room schoolhouse, then went onto Spring Green High School where he graduated in 1953. He then spent the next 1½ years pursuing an agriculture major at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. From 1955-1957, Merle served our country in the United States Army where he was stationed in Korea.
Upon his return home, he met the love of his life, Dorothy Ann Weidner. The couple wed on Aug. 3, 1959, and had five children. Merle and Dorothy enjoyed traveling to both coasts of the U.S. and to Canada with many great stops along the way.
Merle worked for 13½ years for Herber Pure Oil Truck Stop in Spring Green, during this time, Merle did a ride along with the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department and was appointed a special deputy by Sauk County Sheriff Mike Spencer. Merle was hired on Dec. 1, 1959, as a dispatcher. In August 1972, Merle was made a detective juvenile officer. From 1987-1993, he worked on child abuse cases. Merle retired in 1993 at the age of 57.
While at the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department, Merle was past-president of the Sauk County Law Enforcement Association and was one of the founding members of Cops for Kids. After retiring, Merle continued to work part-time as a bailiff and was a member of the Baraboo Police and Fire Commission. He served as a citizen member of the Sauk County Human Services Board, supervising foster child placements.
Merle was also very active in his church and community. Merle was parishioner of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Baraboo where he served as an usher, was a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus, past grand knight, faithful navigator, guard commander, and was a senior knight twice. He was past district deputy grand exalted ruler of the Baraboo Elks and was named Elk of the Year twice. He was also a past-president of Renewal Unlimited.
Merle is survived by his wife, Dorothy; children, Therese (Olaf) Wick of Hammond, Ann (Juan) Lopez of Raleigh, North Carolina, Mary Jo Alt of Baraboo, Michelle (Salvador) Leon of Yorkville, Illinois, Michael Alt of Baraboo; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brother, James (Rita) Alt of Spring Green; brother, Thomas (Della) Alt of Spring Green; sister, Cheryl Alt of Middleton; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Edith Alt; brothers, Kenneth Alt and Reginald Alt.
A memorial mass for Merle will be held at noon Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, with Father Jay Poster officiating. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass Tuesday at the church. The Knights of Columbus will pray the rosary in Merle’s memory at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the church. Inurnment with military honors will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery following the mass. The Redlin Funeral Home is assisting the family.