DeKALB – Mary Margaret Merchant, 81, of DeKalb, Ill., died suddenly and peacefully Sunday, April 13, 2014, at Heritage Woods Retirement Center, DeKalb, where she had been living comfortably for the past year. A lifelong resident of Sycamore/DeKalb, she was known by many people because of her outgoing nature and generous life of encouragement, prayers and service.|
Born Dec. 5, 1932, at Sycamore Hospital, the daughter of Fred and Mary (Brooks) Merchant, Mary was a 1952 graduate of Sycamore High School. She was an employee of Anaconda Wire & Cable in Sycamore for 30 years. She then worked at Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center as housekeeper for 11 years. Immediately after this, Mary began to volunteer daily at Cornerstone Christian Academy. She served there for 20 years until she retired at age 80.
Formerly a member of Bethany Baptist Church, she was a member of Evangelical Free Church of Sycamore-DeKalb for 30 years. Mary was a devoted and faithful woman, foremost to her God, King and Savior Jesus, and then to all the people God gave her. She loved and was devoted to her family, including her sister and brothers, and after her father died, Mary took care of her mother in her last years. Also, during the span of her life, Mary became, and stayed, close to many individuals and families she met along life's way.
Mary acquired golden friendships where she worked and where she worshipped. She also had store-clerk friends, drive-thru-window friends and auto-mechanic friends who were dear to her. She was the best kind of friend because she kept up her friendships, overlooked offenses, built people up and didn't betray confidences.
She was a good citizen of this world and worked diligently, responsible and careful with things and money. She tried to never cause a dispute or a hurt feeling. She enjoyed watching sports and read the Daily Chronicle to keep up with things. She volunteered and voted. Mary was a pretty good driver, but she hung up the keys when it was time. She attended every function possible in support of those she loved. Mary added joy to many families' gatherings and she attended to the sick. She counseled and comforted moms, loved and listened to children and upheld dads. She kept her word.
When Mary became friends with a person or a family, she took them into her heart and stuck with them like glue, no matter what. But the greatest thing of all, the reason for rejoicing over her life and mourning over her death, is that she prayed for those she loved. That is what she was most known for and what will leave the biggest void. Mary went to bed early so that she could rise early. For years, in the darkness before each dawn, Mary poured out her petitions to God. She went to God on behalf of her people, displaying faith, hope and love in her prayers. It will be amazing to see, one day, the entirety of Mary's answered prayers.
Of her siblings, there is one surviving brother, John (Elaine) Merchant. She also is survived by her sister-in-law, Martha; and nieces, nephews and great-nieces and -nephews.
Mary's beloved sister Martha, brothers Hasley and Arthur, and half brother Raymond Merchant, have preceded her in death.
Mary Merchant was prepared for her death, although the timing seemed unexpected. She was a woman for whom many, many people thank God. She was a woman, who, leaving this earth, would have said, "God has been very, very good to me." And she believed John 11:25-26 with her whole heart: "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'"
Mary has donated her body to science through Northern Illinois University.
A celebration of Mary's life will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 26, at Evangelical Free Church of Sycamore-DeKalb, 150 Bethany Road, DeKalb, with the Rev. Martin Jones officiating.
In lieu of flowers, she wished that memorials be given to the Global Connection Team at Evangelical Free Church of Sycamore-DeKalb.
For information, visit www.AndersonFuneralHomeLtd.com or call Anderson Funeral Home, DeKalb, at 815-756-1022.
Published in Daily Chronicle on Apr. 19, 2014