Merle E. O. Freije, 72, of Mayville, ND, died Monday, January 6, 2014 at Essentia Health in Fargo, ND. Merle Ellen Olson Freije, was born on March 14, 1941 to Mervin & Elsie Olson in San Luis Obispo, CA. They returned to Starkweather, ND, when Merle was a toddler and settled in the community where both Mervin & Elsie were raised. She attended school in Starkweather, graduating high school and going on to attend Jamestown College, where she received her teaching certificate. Merle married John Freije, Edmore, ND, in June 1962. They moved to Mayville, where they owned and operated the Coast to Coast store. In 1970, Merle and John purchased the John Deere dealership which they owned until 2003. In her early days in Mayville, Merle went back to finish off several degrees at Mayville State where she also taught Children’s Literature. For the past 29 years, she taught Humanities for Lake Region College at the Grand Forks Air Base. Merle was a lifelong advocate for justice – working through the ELCA on issues related to women & children. She served on numerous church wide boards. She was a member of Pioneer Daughters, PEO, and Women’s Club. She had a national network through the church that kept her involved on various projects at all levels. She loved grass root movements and prided herself on learning and sharing stories of the human condition. Merle is survived by her husband John (Mayville, ND), daughters Kathy (Rich) Thompson (Eagan, MN), Kristine (Brian) Olson (Fargo, ND), grandchildren Ian, Tori, Sydney & Micah. Her siblings: Sharon Etemad (Devils Lake, ND), Nancy (Don) Condit (Hatton, ND), and Donald (Susie) Olson, Mayville, ND; numerous nieces and nephews and their extended families. Merle had two passions: Family & Faith. Visitation: Will be 5–8 PM with a 7:30 PM Prayer Service on Friday, January 10, 2014 at the Baker Funeral Home Chapel and will resume one hour prior to the service at the church. Funeral Service: 11:00 AM Saturday, January 11, 2014 at the Mayville Lutheran Church in Mayville, ND. Burial: Trinity ~ Bergan Cemetery, Starkweather, ND.