GRANITE CITY — Merry Dell Trtanj, 78, of Granite City, Illinois, passed away at 10 p.m. on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at her home.
She was born Dec. 20, 1942 in Alton, Illinois, a daughter of the late William and Betty (Lee) Skelton.
Merry attended the local public schools in Alton and graduated from the Alton High School in 1961.
Following her graduation, she was employed in retail management, as a buyer and model for women's fashion clothing for retail sales with The Vogue Womens' Fashions in Alton.
On Oct. 12, 1967, she married the love of her life, Dr. Albert Trtanj, prominent Granite City Dentist, who survives.
They have one son, Derek Trtanj, who resides in Key Largo, Florida; a step-daughter, Julie Trtanj, who resides in Alexandria, Virginia; and one granddaughter, Jourdain Trtanj.
She is also survived by four sisters, all of whom reside in the Alton area. Sally (Victor) Spagnola, Peggy (Steve) Price, Cindy (Ron) Voorhees and Jane Cogan; and a sister-in-law, Jeanette Trtanj of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
Along with a whole host of nieces, nephews, extended family and many friends also mourn her loss.
In addition to her parents; she was preceded in death by a brother, U.S. Marine Veteran, David Skelton; and a brother-in-law, Frank Cogan.
For many years, Merry was an extremely avid and aggressive tennis player.
She proudly displayed well over a hundred trophies, plaques, recognitions, and awards, in her home, representing numerous successes both locally and regionally.
She was frequently privileged to have tutelage with nationally known tennis instructors.
She volunteered countless hours to the Granite City Park District Childrens' Summer Tennis Camps.
She was very civic minded and was of great assistance to many in various community projects.
In 1970 she assisted greatly in arranging all the inaugural events for the dedication of the new Binney wing for St. Elizabeth Hospital in Granite City.
She was invaluable in assisting her husband in his endeavors as President of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Through her membership in both the American Dental Association and the Illinois Dental Society Womens' Auxiliaries she assisted him with his efforts to help establish the School of Dental Medicine at SIUE while he was President of the Madison District Dental Society and continued as he chaired the Legislative effort for its funding.
Her generous assistance and contributions to the success of the initial establishment of the "Mississippi River Festival" are well known in this community.
She worked closely with her husband who was one of the three original founders and signatories of the not-for-profit entity which enabled SIUE to initiate the Festival.
Perhaps her most satisfying endeavors were from her efforts to help raise funds, quietly and without any fanfare, for the local food banks assisting those in need.
Merry leaves a deep void for her family as well as for her community which will be difficult to replace.
Her family wishes to express their deep gratitude to her compassionate caregivers, Viva Liebold and Faiza Ouchani, for their outstanding care and love in Merry's recent months, as well as to the staff and nurses at Heartland Hospice and Midwest Medical Supply for their prompt attention to provide specialized medical equipment for Merry.
Private family services were arranged by Irwin Chapel in Granite City.
A celebration of her life and memorial in Merry's honor will be held at a later date.