This will be an ongoing project.  If you would like to add something, write to Nan Hawthorne at ndn I will add it.

Chapter 1

Merle Forrest Ohlausen

Merle never knew who her real mother was.  She was born either in Los Angeles or an outlying town to an unwed mother.  She was adopted soon thereafter by George Ohlhausen and Thula Forrest Ohlhausen of Los Angeles.  Thula was a daughter of a reasonably prominent Los Angeles family.  I will have a chapter about her parents and their families below.  merle was either born on Decebber 25, 1923, or January 3, 1924.  She did not learn that she was adopted until her father died, at which time Thula Ohlhausen told her of her birth, adoption and the confused facts thereof.

Merle's father spent his summers in Alaska and winters in Mexico so she and her mother were left alone in Los Angeles for much of it.  When he was home, her father doted on her and gave her costumes and took her on outings.  The phto here of Merle with the gorilla and dog was taken at the Selig Zoo started by one of the earliest Hollywood filmmakers.

Merle attended Manual Arts and Dorsey High School in LA.

She met Louis Frederick Haas while working in a USO during the early part of World War II.  He was from memphis, Tennessee, was in the army and would soon be deployed to the Aleutian Islands as a lieutenant.  When he proposed to her he sang the song, "Desert Song" from the operetta of the same name.  They spent their newlywed years in Carmel, caligornia. 

Merle and Louis had three daughters, Denise in Los Angeles 1944,  Nanette in hawthorne, Nevada, in 1952, and Laurel in Juneau Alaka in 1962.

They were divorced in about 1967,  Merle married Paul Kirby Ritter not too long afterward.  They lived for several years in Bozeman, Montana, and then Fairbanks, Alaska.  When they separated Merle moved to Juneau, Alaska, with Laurel, where Merle stayed unti her death in August 2010.