Charles "Cherla" Merhar, 80, dies

Mass will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 11:00 A.M.

Charles John Merhar, aka Charlie or Cherla, born January 18, 1938, passed away peacefully on January 8, 2019 with family at his side, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 80. The “voice” of Ace Hardware could always be heard greeting his customers with “How can I help you?”
He graduated from Ely High School in 1956 where he was an accomplished athlete in both baseball and football. He worked with his father at Ace Hardware and apprenticed to become a licensed plumber and well installer. His civic life included serving on the Ely Volunteer Fire Department for over 20 years, the Ely Jaycees and was a supporter of Ducks Unlimited. He married his High School sweetheart, Judy Mahoney in 1961 and built their home on White Iron Lake in 1962 where they remained for over 40 years. Judy and Cherla took over successful management of Merhar Ace Hardware in 1992 until when management passed to Mark and Chris Merhar being the 4th generation to own the business.
Cherla’s life together with Judy was full of fun, family, and hard work. Cherla’s outdoor adventures included fishing trips to Insula as well as the Thursday Bay Hotel on Crooked, snowmobiling to all parts of the state, hunting geese at the farm in Canada, and deer hunting at his “shacks” both in the BWCA and off the Cloquet Line. Their family grew with the birth of Charles Stanley (Bemidji), Mark Edward and Christopher James, both of Ely. But, Judy, the love of his life, was struck down by a rare form of Parkinson’s disease called Shy-Drager Syndrome, and left Cherla in 2000. Life for him would never be the same.
Charles was pre-deceased by his parents, Catherine and Charlie (1995), spouse Judith Anne Merhar, and sister Marge Dugan (2017). He is survived by his brother Dave (Janet), sons Charlie (Polly), Mark (Marolyn), and Chris (Misty), plus three wonderful grandchildren CJ, Gage and Jenna.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 11 a.m. with visitation at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, 231 E. Camp St., Ely, MN.