Merlin Christians, age 65, died Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at Kavanagh House. 

Merlin was born December 22, 1950 in Sibley, Iowa to Ray and Audrey Christians. He grew up in Ankeny, IA and graduated from Ankeny High School in 1969. He proudly served in the U.S. Army from 1971-1973. In November 1973, Merlin joined the Ankeny Police Department. He served in numerous positions throughout his career. He was honored to serve with the men and women of the Department and in the community he called home. He made many life-long friends with the members of the department. Merlinretired as Deputy Chief in December 2005 after 32 years of service. 

Golf, riding motorcycles, traveling, watching old westerns (especially any and all John Wayne movies) and enjoying time with family and friends were highlights throughout his life. His sense of humor ("Merlin's World") was well known and he loved to joke and tease with those he respected and cared about. 

Merlin is survived by his wife of 33 years, Janet; daughter, Julie (Jeff) Nepple of Lakeview, CO, 3 grandchildren (Cecilia, Cody and Luke Nepple); father and mother-in-law, David and Calene Smith of Kanawha, IA; sister-in-law, Linda (Dale) Carter of Des Moines and nephew, Rod (Wendy) Lamberti of Ankeny. Other very special people include the Hall family (Sandy, Toby, Shannon, Jaecee, Teagan, Chad, Julie, Nicholas, Mya and Chris), as well as a host of friends. He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Ray and Audrey Christians, his sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Rod Lamberti and numerous aunts and uncles. 

Merlin felt that his life was truly blessed because he knew true love, laughter, tears, success, ups and downs and what it meant to take care of each other. Merlin considered Jan's family his family. Daughter, Julie, and her family were everything that a father could dream of. Add in all of the special people in his world, the best neighbors, many wonderful friends and he found he truly had "A Wonderful Life". Merlin felt it very important that everyone that sent prayers, stopped for a visit, gave him a ride, a phone call, brought food or helped with countless projects during the time of his illness, knew just how much it was appreciated and how thankful he was for their help. 

His family would like to extend a heartfelt Thank You to the entire staff at John Stoddard Cancer Center in Des Moines for their wonderful care and friendship. The people that work there, are all above amazing. A special Thank You is extended to the nurses, staff and volunteers at HCI Hospice Care Services for their care and support for Merlin and his family. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to John Stoddard or HCI Hospice Care Services. Online condolences are welcome at

©2019 Iowa State Police Association • All Rights Reserved