Cover photo for Merl Soderstrom's Obituary
Merl Soderstrom Profile Photo
1939 Merl 2021

Merl Soderstrom

July 7, 1939 — June 13, 2021


A celebration of life for Edward Merlin (Sod) Soderstrom, age 81, of Milaca, MN, will be held Tuesday, June 29, 2021, at New Hope Church, 4225 Gettysburg Ave N, New Hope, MN.  The service will be at 11:00 am. Visitation will take place from 9:00 - 10:45am at the church on Tuesday. A reception will be held immediately following the ceremony. A private interment will be held at Forest Hill Cemetery in Milaca on Monday, June 28.

Edward Merlin (Sod) Soderstrom was born at the Soderstrom family farm near Quamba, MN on July 7, 1939, to Edward and Mildred (Ostrom) Soderstrom and passed away peacefully at his new home in Brooklyn Park, MN on June 13, 2021, after a 5-month battle with cancer.

Sod attended grade school in Quamba and graduated from Mora High School in 1957, where he was a standout 2-sport athlete for the football and baseball teams. He earned a football scholarship to Utah State University and played there for 1 year before returning to Minnesota to play football and baseball at St. Cloud State University. Sod graduated from St. Cloud State in 1963 with a degree in elementary education.

Sod married Ione Johnson, on September 1, 1962. They were blessed with a son, Reed, and two daughters, Kim, and Karin.

Sod and Ione settled in Milaca in 1963 where he began his teaching and coaching career. Mr. Sod (as he was known by his students) started out as a 6th grade teacher, followed by many years of specialized health and physical education. In 1983 he began teaching world geography and Minnesota history in the middle school until his retirement in 2001. Mr. Sod coached 8thgrade football, softball, and basketball. In 1978 Coach Sod established the Milaca High School girl’s fastpitch softball program and was the head coach until 1994. The school team still plays their home games on Sod Park, which was designed by and named after him. He was known as “The Voice of the Milaca Wolves” as he enjoyed announcing football and basketball games.

After retiring from his 38 years of teaching and coaching, he was honored with three Hall of Fame inductions. He entered the St. Cloud State University Athletic HOF in 2001, the Mora High School Athletic HOF in 2011 and the Milaca High School HOF in 2013. Sod and Ione spent their retirement years traveling, spending time with friends and family, and being active, invested grandparents.

Sod was passionate about the people and activities he loved. He enjoyed all sports as a player and a fan, especially if it included his kids and grandkids. He loved hunting with his brothers, cooking Swedish foods, gardening, singing, playing games, laughing, and visiting with friends. He was actively involved in church leadership. Above all, he was a follower of Jesus having a personal relationship with Him since he was a child. He shared his faith openly even in his last days.

Sod is preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Mildred Soderstrom, Brothers, Arlen Soderstrom, Russell Soderstrom, and Ronald Soderstrom. Sisters-in-law, Gloria Soderstrom and Virginia Soderstrom, and brother-in-law, Lyle Berghuis.

He is survived and deeply loved by his wife of 58 years, Ione, of Brooklyn Park, MN; Son, Reed (Randi) Soderstrom, of Brooklyn Park, MN; daughters, Kim (Chris) Calewart, of Wind Lake, WI, and Karin (Marshall) Heitzman, of Champlin, MN; grandchildren, Jordan Soderstrom, Brady (Annie) Soderstrom, Kendall Soderstrom, Kristin (Daniel) Hill, Trevor Calewart, Sydney Heitzman, Calvin Heitzman, and Peyton Heitzman; sister, Betty Berghuis, of Milaca, MN, sister-in-law, Judy Soderstrom, of Cambridge, MN, and brother-in-law, Harold Daniel (Diane) Johnson, of Zimmerman, MN; and many nephews and nieces, friends, as well as generations of former students.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Merl Soderstrom, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

9:00 - 10:45 am (Central time)

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Celebration of Life

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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