Mardis Merritt Aten

Mardis Merritt Aten

November 5, 1928 – December 17, 2018

Mardis Merritt Aten, 90, of Omaha, died on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018.   He grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa where he enjoyed summers working on his grandfather’s farm, and he graduated from Ottumwa High School in 1947. After high school, Mardis moved to Washington D.C. where he worked for the F.B.I. as an assistant to the agents in the enforcement division.  He had fond memories of riding cable cars in D.C. back in the early fifties.

Mardis was drafted into the Army in 1951.  His unit was scheduled to go to Korea, but at the last minute was transferred to Germany.  Mardis became an assistant to a colonel in charge of food operations.  In this capacity, Mardis toured Germany keeping records regarding food operations in the Army. After the Army, Mardis returned to Ottumwa where his Uncle John got him a job at Morrells.

Mardis married Barbara Johnson and they had two delightful daughters, Joyce and Janise, and three grandchildren with whom he enjoyed many activities including games, travel and teasing wherein he lived up to his nickname, “The Agitator.”

Mardis had many outside interests throughout his life including building houses, serving on the volunteer fire department and the city council, and traveling and playing cards. Through the years, Mardis’ skills as a mechanic put him in high demand, and in his final position at Curwood/Bemis Corporation, he was their top troubleshooting service technician.

After Barbara’s death, Mardis moved to Holiday, Florida to join an enclave of family of friends from Iowa.  He took up golf and thoroughly enjoyed all the weather and activities that Florida had to offer.  He became very good friends with Shirley Johnson, and they remained friends through the years.

One of Mardis’ final comments was “You know, I’ve really led a good life.”

He was preceded in death by parents, Carl and Hazel (Morrow) Aten; wife, Barbara Jeanne (Johnson) Aten.  Survived by brother and sister-in-law, Eddie and Deirdre Aten; sister, Virginia Aten; daughters and sons-in-law, Joyce and Nick Schwartz and Janise and Dan Schwee; granddaughter, Kara Schwee; grandsons, Brent Schwartz and Casey Schwee.

VISITATION begins on Saturday, Dec. 22nd at 8:30am at the West Center Chapel, followed by SERVICES at 9am. Interment, Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Ottumwa, IA.  Memorials to Nebraska Humane Society.



  • Doug & Karan Johnson Posted December 20, 2018 8:11 am

    So sorry for your loss. We all loved and enjoyed Mardis so much. He was a wonderful man with a very giving heart. He had so many life experiences he loved sharing with all of us. We will miss him.

  • Esther Klay Posted December 21, 2018 8:02 am

    Uncle Martian – what a great guy with that twinkle in his eye you never knew what trick was going to be played on who. Loved being part of your family and spending many holidays with Mardis and Barb. Yes – you did live a very good life and I was blessed to know you and love you. Heaven got a great addition to the “jokester” committee!!!

  • David and Deb Johnson Posted December 21, 2018 8:55 am

    Sorry for your loss .We were so blessed to have Mardis in our life .He was a joy to be around. He had a great life and great stories to tell.He talked allot about his daughters who he loved very much as well as his grandchildren.He will be missed

  • Sarah & Nate Klar (Johnson) & Children Posted December 26, 2018 1:21 pm

    Mardis was an incredibly special addition to our family. We always enjoyed interacting and laughing with him during our family gatherings and hearing his life stories/experiences. We will all miss him very much. With deepest sympathy…

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