Mearl was born on July 10, 1933, in Modesto to George and Elsie Lucken. He grew up in Manteca where George was the vice mayor and ran a successful insurance business. On Tuesday, March 26, 2019, Mearl Lucken passed away at the age of 85. He attended Manteca High School, San Jose State University and then entered the United States Air Force. Sports was a passion and he had a great urge to become a sports broadcaster, having lettered in five sports in high school, so after leaving the Air Force he returned to Stockton and became … a State Farm insurance agent, just like his father before him! On April 4, 1953, he married his high school sweetheart, Wilma Jewel Strait. They raised three daughters, Neva, Sue, Arlene, and a son, Doug. Mearl has nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
In 1966 he moved the family to San Jose to start his own Agency, and in 1979 moved to Murphys, all the while continuing to work for State Farm. Upon retirement from 44 years with State Farm, he split his time between Murphys and Todos Santos, Mexico; and eventually spent the last 13 years of his life in Palm Desert, Calif.
Mearl’s true passion was always community service. He volunteered his entire life in many different ways: reading and driving for the blind; donating gallons of blood to local blood banks; as a member and past president of the Angles/Murphys Rotary Club; a co-founding member and charter president of the Murphys Volunteer Library; past president, Hospice of the Serra; advisory member board of trustees Tuolumne General Hospital; past president of the Men’s Putters group in Sun City; past president of the social bridge club in Sun City; recording secretary of the SCPD Insurance Advisory Committee, Sun City.
If Mearl wasn’t volunteering somewhere, he could be found with a microphone in his hand in front of a group. He had done some acting and emceeing in high school, and Mearl and a mic were inseparable: he emceed over 250 public events in Tuolumne, Amador and Calaveras counties; hosted upwards of 1,500 shows on Community television in the Mother Lode area; he had a twice-weekly radio show on KNGT-FM Jackson, called “Mearl’s Pearls”; spent 15 years doing play-by-play for the high school football, basketball and baseball teams for the two high schools in Calaveras County; emceed the Calaveras County Fair and Frog Jump Jubilee for years; master of ceremonies for the Miss Calaveras Beauty Pageant for 18 years; and was the arena announcer for Calaveras County Fair Rodeo for 10 years.
Forty years ago, Mearl and Jewel started a golf tournament called the Mother Lode Invitational. After 15 years, he passed the tournament onto his son, Doug. This July with be the 40th Annual at which point Mearl’s grandsons, Trevor, Keith, Brent and Kyle will be taking over the tournament and keep it going in Mearl and Jewels honor.
~ We will be sending Mearl off with a few parties to remember him by, titled ~
“The last joke is on you, Mearl”
…The family asks that you bring your favorite Mearl stories to share.
On Saturday, April 13 at 2 p.m., we will be hosting a party for Mearl in Palm Desert, Calif., in the Sun City Ventana Room.
On Saturday, June 1 at 2 p.m., we will be hosting a party for Mearl in Murphys, Calif.; details to follow.
In lieu of flowers, Mearl asked that you make a donation in his name to the Murphys Volunteer Library, PO Box 702, Murphys, Calif. 95247 or Adventist Health Sonora Hospice, 20100 Cedar Road North, Sonora, Calif. 95370.