Melanie Sue "Susie" Bowers, known by friends and family in Merced, Lodi, and Alpine County as a vivacious force of nature, died February 5 in Merced of lung cancer. She was 64.
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Susie grew up in Lodi, but lived in Merced for many years.
"A lot of people knew her as the co-owner of Herb's Meats & Deli on Yosemite Parkway, but I think she was more famous for the Christmas light display she put on every year," said her twin sister, Marilyn Lewis of Jackson. "Even if people didn't know her personally, they knew the light display on Tahoe Drive in Merced would be worth visiting. Tour buses even drove by."
Susie was the store manager for Degnan's Grocery in Yosemite Valley for several years before coming to Merced, and always loved the Sierras. She spent summers at the family cabin at Blue Lakes in Alpine County, and was active in politics and service clubs in both Alpine and Merced Counties. The cabin was a popular spot for entertaining, if Susie wasn't out fishing.
"If Susie wasn't at Blue Lake in the summer, then she and her husband Larry were out on the Gold Wing," said her other sister, Coralie Coleman of Stockton. "She'd write up travel journals that included a road kill count for each day."
In Lodi schools, twin sisters Susie and Marilyn often pretended to be the other, and eventually were separated in most classes. They continued to play elaborate practical jokes on each other throughout adulthood.
Susie is survived by her husband of 23 years, Lawrence (Larry) Bowers of Merced, and sisters Marilyn Lewis and Coralie Coleman. She also has four stepchildren: Julie Mercer Garcia and Amy Mercer Cook, both of Atwater, and Cyndi Cates of Cameron Park, and Scott Bowers of Summer, WA. She is also survived by a niece and nephew as well as 5 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
She was preceeded in death by former husband Herb Mercer, Son Bryant Mercer, and step-son Bruce Bowers.
"Susie was uncanny about remembering birthdays and other special occasions in people's lives," Marilyn said. "It made her happy to make other people feel special."
A remembrance of her life will be held Feb 23 at 2 p.m. at the Elk's Lodge at 1910 M Street in Merced, with a second remembrance scheduled August 10 at noon at the family's Blue Lakes cabin. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Community Hospice at 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95356, or a
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Feb. 13 to Feb. 23, 2013