MARS HILL - Elizabeth Jean (Graves) Merkel, age 88, died peacefully at TAMC on March 2, 2015, surrounded by her 3 children and son-in-law. In leaving this earth she went to meet her Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ and to be reunited with her beloved husband, Jim. She was born August 11, 1926, in Mars Hill, the fourth child of John and Viva (York) Graves.
Elizabeth attended school in Mars Hill, and she graduated from ACI in the class of 1944. After school, she moved to Presque Isle and worked at the Presque Isle Air Base. It was while she worked there that she was introduced to a handsome GI from Texas, who would eventually become her husband for 54 years until his death. Elizabeth also worked at MPG in the seed department, at Fort Street School in Mars Hill as a secretary, and at the time of her retirement, she was City Clerk in Presque Isle.
She was married to Jim Lacy Merkel on November 10, 1953, in a double wedding with her sister, Sara Ann and her husband, Larry Smith. Elizabeth and Jim resided in Presque Isle until 1957, when they bought their house in Mars Hill where she still resided until her death.
One of her many talents was baking, and she was especially known for her bread, apple pie, and potato scallop which her family always enjoyed.
Besides being called Elizabeth, she answered to many names, depending on who was talking to her. Her husband and many of her friends called her Betty, to some of her nieces and nephews she was known as Aunt Ebbie. Her grandchildren called her Grammie and her great grandson called her GG (short for Great Grammie).
She is survived by her three children: son James Merkel and his wife Robin of Maxton, NC, daughter Sue Anderson and her husband Gordon of Mars Hill, and son Harold Merkel and his wife Kara from Houston, TX, sister Joyce Stearns and her husband Carl of Bangor and her sister-in-law Norma Graves from Winter Haven, FL, nine grandchildren: Lauren Merkel, Isaac Merkel, Zachary Merkel, Hannah Merkel Gillis, Jordan Anderson, Daniel Anderson, Lacy Anderson, Austin Merkel and Victoria Merkel, two great grandchildren: Camden Caron and Katherine Gillis, as well as many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased sisters, Frances McKay and Sara Ann Smith; brother George (Bud) Graves, and brothers-in-law David McKay and Larry Smith.
Elizabeth was a lifelong member of the United Baptist Church in Mars Hill, and she also attended Valley- Hi First Baptist Church in San Antonio when she would winter in Texas. She enjoyed having the opportunity to play the piano at both churches.
Friends and family may call 6 - 8 p.m. Friday, March 6, 2015, at the United Baptist Church, 20 Church Street in Mars Hill, where funeral services will be 3 p.m. Saturday, March 7, 2015, with Rev. James F. Merkel and Rev. Mitch Ross, officiating. Spring interment will be at Fairmount Cemetery, Presque Isle.
Donations in her memory may be made to The United Baptist Church, PO Box 382, Mars Hill, ME 04758. Services in care of Duncan Funeral Home, 8 Main Street, Mars Hill.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.duncan-graves.com.