Merlin Fischer was born in Oregon City on Aug. 24, 1937, to Thelma and Ernest Fischer.

He attended West Linn High School and graduated from Oregon State University in 1959 in Food Technology. Known by many as “The Berry King,” Merlin was an icon in the food processing industry, where he worked his entire life. Even after he retired, he continued to be a consultant and mentor to others in the industry.

Merlin was a generous, giving, caring man. Not only for his family and friends, but for many he just met, or maybe never knew. He loved the game of baseball and he knew the players on every major league baseball team.

Merlin was told at age 19 he had a faulty heart valve and would be lucky to live to age 30. He had a heart valve transplant at age 59. About a decade ago, he was diagnosed with a blood leukemia. His doctor suggested he might only have eight years left years. He battled through the treatments and beat that, too. To his family, he was unbreakable and so his sudden passing while working out at the Keizer Courthouse gym was quite a shock. He left a lot of 5 a.m. friends behind at the gym.

He was a devoted husband of 54 years to Vivian. He leaves behind his brother, Darrell, his three children, Scott (Becky) Fischer of Longview, Wash., Erik (Angel) Fischer of Keizer and Heidi (Tom) Quinn of Lake Oswego, and eight grandchildren – Jacob, Jessica, Reilly, Kyle, Chloe, Baylee, Noah and Tyler.

A Celebration of Life will be held at McNary Golf Course Restaurant on September 10 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Union Gospel Mission of Salem, a charity that was near and dear to Merlin’s heart.

For a more detailed tribute, please go to his Facebook page.