Retired U professor dies at age 84

Merle Meyer was a national leader in the development of aerial photography for analyzing forest and rangeland resources.

Anna Weggel

Merle Meyer, a retired University forest resources professor, died April 17 at age 84.

Meyer, a leader of groundbreaking aerial photography practices, died in Regions Hospital following a stroke.

He was renowned for his memorable teaching techniques, said Alan Ek, forest resources professor. Ek said Meyer was his teacher, adviser and colleague.

“He was really a conscientious teacher and really shaped the education of his students and the field of remote sensing,” Ek said. “He was widely appreciated.”

Meyer’s wife Delaine said many students have kept in touch and continued friendships with him.

“He was admired for his sense of humor and always helping people,” she said.

She said Meyer liked to fish, hunt with old-fashioned guns from the Civil War and cross-country ski. He completed the American Birkebeiner, an international 52-kilometer cross-country ski race, 10 times but always wished he could have gotten one more done, she said.

Meyer was born in 1920 in Eldridge, Iowa, and worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1937 to 1940, according to a news release. He received his bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in forestry and wildlife management from the University and a master’s degree in forestry from the University of CaliforniañBerkeley.

He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1940 and was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation and the Order of the Flying Cloud.

He married Delaine Redmann in 1956 and lived in Shoreview, Minn., before moving to St. Paul 14 years ago.

He rose to professor level and became director of the University’s Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory when it was created in 1972. It was there he became a national leader in the development of aerial photography for analyzing forest and rangeland resources, according to a news release. Meyer retired in 1985.

“He was a tremendous person,” Ek said.

He received various awards for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.

Meyer was preceded in death by his mother Elfreda, father Nick, brother Carl and sister Wendla. He is survived by his wife, daughters Leslie and Andrea, grandsons Nicholas and Anders, and niece Pam.

A memorial service will be held at 11a.m. Tuesday at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 3920 N. Victoria St. in Shoreview.