87-year-old continues resolve
By Seth Schmidt
When it comes to giving blood, Marlin Meyer is hard to top.
Even a jumbo-sized refrigerator would have trouble holding all the blood the Tracy man has given over the past six decades.
The retired Tracy banker gave his 160th unit of blood at a recent American Red Cross Bloodmobile in Tracy. That makes the volume of blood that Meyer has given since 1955 equal to 20 gallons, since a unit of blood is about a pint.
“It’s something that I can do, so why not?” Meyer says, of his regular blood giving. Asked if he feels good about being able to help others, he replies, “Of course.”
The 87-year-old, who has a birthday coming up in September, might be Tracy’s oldest regular blood donor.
“(Giving blood) has never bothered me,” relates Meyer.
The retiree tries to attend the Red Cross bloodmobile every time it is in Tracy. On occasion, Meyer has also been a blood donor through the Community Blood Bank, or even driven out-of-town to give blood. Blood donations were also his practice during 20-years of winter trips to Texas.
A stack of donation cards, bound in a rubber band, records when and where Meyer has given blood. The first donation entry is Feb. 22, 1955. Only a 1987 prostate cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatments interrupted his blood giving.
“There was a period of 10 years where they wouldn’t take my blood because I had cancer,” Meyer says. Otherwise, Meyer can recall only one time when he was rejected as a donor.
“My blood levels were just a little low.” He feels fortunate that is health has allowed him to continue giving blood.
Through the years, Meyer has encouraged others to give blood. Some people have conditions that prevent their being a donor, he says, but most people can.
“They don’t realize that there is nothing to it.”
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The salutatorian of Tracy High School’s Class of 1946, Meyer attended Tracy Junior College and later Mankato State.
In 1950, the young man returned to Tracy to get married and work at his father’s Oliver farm implement and Oldsmobile car dealership. But in 1951, Meyer was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he learned the Morse Code and served on an intelligence team intercepting and decoding Russian, Chinese, and North Korean messages during the Korean Conflict.
After his Army stint, Meyer became a loan officer for the Farmers & Merchants State Bank (later Northwestern & Norwest banks) in Tracy from 1954-1984.
He and his wife, Marlene, raised two daughters who both graduated from Tracy High School: Nancy (1970), and Carol (’76).