Robert Bland "Bob" Mercer
86, passed away peacefully on November 28, 2012 in Indianapolis. Born December 24, 1925, the second son of Robert and Mary Mercer, Bob was undoubtedly his parents' favorite Christmas present. Bob grew up in East Chicago, Indiana, graduated as a member of Roosevelt High's class of 1944, and enlisted in the U.S. Army at age seventeen. His distinctive culinary talent quickly elevated him from the rank of cryptographer to mess sergeant (indeed, for the rest of his life, Bob was known for his legendary shrimp dip!). After serving his country, Bob studied psychology and sociology at Indiana University. He soon met the "Irish colleen" of his dreams, Frances Josephine Kelly, in Hammond, Indiana. They were married August 6, 1948 and shared nearly 62 years of laughter and enduring love.
Anything but "bland," Bob channeled his remarkable work ethic toward the Mercers' dream of sending their three children to college. He gladly "burned the candle at both ends" for years, taking on sundry odd jobs in pursuit of this goal. However, he spent the majority of his career at Sinclair Oil Refinery, ascending from an entry-level position to second in command of the facility. Bob was passionate about his career and was widely respected as a strong leader and devoted family man. By the time he and Frances retired to the Myrtle Beach area, they had proudly celebrated three Mercer college graduations. Bob never truly "retired," filling his calendar with travel, reading, working outside, exercising, and caring for his wife. He treasured deep conversation—especially spirited discussions of politics and college basketball—and epitomized poet W.B. Yeats's adage, "There are no strangers here; only friends you haven't yet met."
Bob was preceded in death by his beloved Frances, daughter Colleen Mercer, and his brother and sister. Survivors include son Robert Mercer (Joni), daughter Sheila Pugh (David), companion Deanna Rutz, and six grandchildren. A celebration of Bob's life will take place December 13, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. in the chapel of Westminster Village North, 11050 Presbyterian Drive, Indianapolis. Arrangements are entrusted to Flanner and Buchanan - Zionsville . Online condolences are welcome at http://www.flannerbuchanan.com. Memorial contributions to Bob's favorite cause, Paralyzed Veterans of America (801 18th Street NW, Washington D.C. 20006; http://www.pva.org), are appreciated in lieu of flowers.