Lyle Ehrhart Merchant, recently of Centralia, passed away from pneumonia on December 8, 2018. He was born in Ryderwood, Wash., on June 7, 1934, on the wedding anniversary of his parents, LeRoy and Ruth (Pettit) Merchant. Lyle grew up in the logging town of Ryderwood. He started his career in the grocery business there at Long-Bell Mercantile and continued it at Safeway in Winlock and at Kanouse's and West Coast Grocery in Chehalis. He loved hosting large family get-togethers at his Winlock home, which was uniquely customized by his two younger brothers. In 1982 Lyle retired to Arizona for health reasons and lived in several places, including Boulder Ridge and Cordes Lakes. He enjoyed sharing his backyard with desert wildlife, but he missed his family and returned to Winlock in 2003. In 2008 he moved to Chehalis. Lyle was a classic car buff. At his 80th birthday party, he displayed a list of 80 cars he had owned, including a 1934 Reo self-shifter, a new 1956 Bel Air, and a 1958 Edsel. He also liked visiting, playing Scrabble, and having lunch at his niece's shop, Dawn's Delectibles. In addition to his parents, Lyle was preceded in death by brothers Leroy "Sonny," James, Donald, and Harlan "Butch" Merchant; sister Patsy Voie Gottfryd; and partner Emory Walter. He is survived by sisters Marsha Padgett Dupree and Winnie (Larry) Rakoz, both of Winlock; brother Larry (Carol) Merchant of Winlock; sisters-in-law Carla Hollinger and Robin Merchant; and many loving nieces and nephews. A potluck celebration of life will be on January 12, 2-4 pm, at Olequa Senior Center in Winlock. The family wishes to thank Sharon Care, Providence Centralia Hospital, and Assured Hospice staff for the exceptional care they provided.
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