Merle Pertile

Merle was born on November 23, 1941 in Whittier, California, and moved to Hammond, Indiana,  where she graduated from Hammond High School in 1959. Her family was associated with the Indiana Botanical Gardens in Hammond.  Merle, 55, died following heart surgery in November, 1997 in Lake Arrowhead, California. 




Merle Pertile's 1959 senior picture (above) reveals a more sultry side of the quiet teenager.

  Posing in this photo ad, Merle with HHS football quarterback Lou Reynolds, for Logan's Formal Wear, 1959.  

  Merle's photo also appeared on the front cover of the January 1963 issue of Playboy Magazine, seen here in the upper right hand corner.  

Happier times!
Merle enjoys a ride at an amusement part
with a friend.

Merle Pertile - Miss January
Playmate of the Month - January 1962
Playboy Magazine

This photo, taken by award winning photographer Frank Bez, was the
centerfold feature for Playboy Magazine, January 1962


    Classmate Comments    

The first time I saw the infamous Playboy picture was at the TKE House at Purdue. I was pinned to one of the brothers and the guys came to me with the picture and said do you know this girl--she's from Hammond. Needless to say I was a bit embarrassed. Didn't remember her looking like that at HHS!!

--Sharon (Langdon) Porter

I was in the Navy stationed in Iceland when she appeared in Playboy. No one believed that I had gone to school with her. My wife was with me in Iceland and I picked up my mail on the base and took it home. After I got home I opened my Playboy and there she was. I couldn't believe it. I told my wife that I went to school with the centerfold. She believed me, but it wasn't until we were back in the states when I showed her my Dunes. I kept the Playboy for a long time, but it got lost in the shuffle over time.

The other guys I worked with sure didn't believe me because I think it listed Merle as being from and living in California. They knew I was from Indiana.

--Larry Crozier

I came home from college for  Christmas break and was invited to a party in Munster with other HHS guys. Some of the fellows went out to buy more beer and came back with the January 1962 issue of Playboy. They came into the kitchen, put down the beer, flipped open the Playboy and said, "Hey, guys! Will you look at this?...." Then everyone experienced the regrets of never having asked her out when we were in high school...

--Rich Barnes