Cover photo for Merle Dean Koepke's Obituary
Merle Dean Koepke Profile Photo

Merle Dean Koepke

d. May 5, 2024

Los Alamos

Merle Dean Koepke, 88, of Los Alamos, New Mexico, passed away peacefully on May 5, 2024. Merle was born on June 24, 1935, in Junction City, Kansas, to the late Genevieve and Werner Koepke. Upon graduation from high school, Merle followed his older brother’s lead and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he proudly served as a first-class electrician on a destroyer for four years.

Merle married Carolyn Harrison upon his honorable discharge from the Navy and obtained a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. Upon completion of Merle’s EE degree, he took a job in Los Alamos. Shortly thereafter he moved to Las Cruces to support NASA’s Johnson Space Center on the Apollo project.  Merle’s final career move was back to Los Alamos where he was employed at the Zia Company and eventually by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as an electrical engineer, where he supported many facility projects, including extensive work in the Chemistry and Metallurgy (CMR) Facility.

In his free time, Merle enjoyed New Mexico’s outdoors opportunities, especially hunting and fishing and coaching softball for his daughters – manifestation of his lifelong love of baseball/softball born out of his youth experience serving as a bat boy for the Boston Red Sox farm team in Kansas City (which also sparked his lifelong passion for the Boston Red Sox).

He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Vern Koepke and Dorothy Clarke.

Merle is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Carolyn Koepke, his daughters Julie Baur (David) and Deana Carnes (Jay), grandchildren Maren and Sonja Baur, Cory and Jared Carnes. 

Merle lived a rich and admirable life, leaving a legacy of great experiences for all who crossed paths with him; he will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

A ceremony to honor Merle's life will be held May 29, 2024, at 1:30 p.m. at the Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe, NM.  DeVargas Funeral Home in Espanola, NM, is assisting with the funeral arrangements.  

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the:

Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation, Help Fight RA 8815 Conroy Windermere Rd, Suite 309, Orlando FL 32835 or website Make a Donation - Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation ( in honor and memory of Merle Koepke.

The family of Merle Dean Koepke has entrusted the care of their loved on to DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the beautiful Espanola Valley.   505-747-7477

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Merle Dean Koepke, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

1:30 - 2:30 pm (Mountain time)

Santa Fe National Cemetery

501 N Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

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