Merton was born Sept. 9, 1943, in Baker, Mont., and was a graduate of Park County High School in Livingston, Mont., Class of 1961. He went on to attend Rocky Mountain College in Billings where he played football and received a bachelor of arts in education in 1965.
In 1970, Merton received a master’s of education from Montana State University.
He began his teaching and coaching career in Center, N.D., in 1965, later moving to Red Lodge, Mont., where he was high school principal and football coach. He then moved to Powell in 1975, where he served as an elementary and middle school principal for more than 25 years. In 2001 he was named Wyoming Principal of the Year and later retired in 2003.
Merton was a born leader, full of energy and with a passion for education. He loved team sports and enjoyed coaching, in particular baseball. Merton had a big heart and generous nature. He was passionate about spreading the word of God.
Merton loved his family. He will be missed greatly by all who knew and loved him; he will forever be in their hearts.
Merton was a member of Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Powell, and throughout the years a member of the Powell Lions and Elks Clubs, Gideons and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Additionally, he served on a number of local community education boards and committees throughout his years in Wyoming.
Merton was preceded in death by his parents Hubert and Evelyn Rustad; two infant brothers Dean and Dale; paternal grandparents George and Lola Rustad; maternal grandparents Aaron and Della Sampson; and a nephew Stephen Rustad.
Merton is survived by his sons Lt. Col. Robert Rustad (Amber) of Fort Knox, Ky., Aaron Rustad of Buffalo, daughter Kathy Flores (Ramon) of Powell; and a brother Bernie Rustad (Terri) of Roundup, Mont. He is also survived by grandsons Doug Rustad of Powell; Jace Rustad of Sheridan; granddaughters Jasmine Roberts of Sheridan, Aneshia Ogger, Katie Kidd, Martha Meyer and Della Dworshak; step-grandsons Tyson Flores and Nathsan Flores all of Powell; nephew Mike Rustad of Roundup; and his former wife Sharyn Ann Pake of Powell, aunt Ellen Rustad, Baker, Mont., and additional cousins and great friends.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 2, at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Powell. Memorial donations can be made to Merton Rustad Memorial Fund, Big Horn Federal Bank of Powell 151 E. First St., Powell WY, 82435; a memorial established for the Glad Tidings Assembly of God, 777 E. Seventh St., Powell WY, 82435 and the Wyoming Fellowship of Christian Athletes.