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Legends of Michiana: Merlin Hanson

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Premieres Thursday, September 29 at 8pm Can also been seen October 2 at 6pm on WNIT 34.1


Born in South Bend, Indiana, Mr. Hanson began a career in the tool and die business following a brief time spent in the Navy. After 50 years of wonderful experiences and having met people in high positions, Merlin Hanson is proud to say that he is still "Just a Toolmaker."

Merlin's own words have helped guide this process. He wrote a short biography that details the lives of his parents who were both deaf and his childhood in South Bend. Whether it was working in the garden with his Aunt Ruth or building things in shop class, he relished any opportunity to work with his hands and that fostered his sense of accomplishment and desire to create. Merlin and his longtime friend, Dan Hillegas, founded Weldun Industries, a tool and die shop that originally employed 3 people and went on to be sold to Bosch Corporation of Germany. Following his success with Weldun, Merlin went on to acquire and run cold storage, beverage and other mold fabrication enterprises. Keeping it in the family, his children are involved at many levels of each of his businesses.

Merlin and his wife Carolyn married in 1982 and together have taken very active roles as philanthropists and leaders in the community. They are avid art collectors and have donated a bulk of their collection to be displayed at the Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College. One of their most recent endeavors is the Merlin & Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center at Lakeland Health that provides hospice care to patients and their families. Merlin is also passionate about yachting and he and Carolyn own seven yachts that they enjoy as they split their time between St. Joseph, Michigan and Florida.

Underwritten By

  •  First Source Foundation Logo
  • Bill and Jane Macrohn Logo
  • Chemical Logo
  • Chris & Carmi Murphy
  • Hanson Group Logo
  • K & M Logo
  • Lake Michigan College Logo
  • Le Valley Chevrolet Buick Logo
  • Passaro, Kahne & Taylor Law Offices, PLLC Logo
  • Lakeland Health Logo
  • Pri Mar Petroleum, Inc. / The Marzke Family Foudnation Logo
  • Starks Funeral Home Logo
  • Tabor Hill Logo
  • Vail Rubber Works, Inc. Logo
  • Whirlpool Logo