Mary Ruth Teeple Merritt died peacefully at her home in Sarasota, Florida on July 19, 2023, from dementia related issues. She was 86.
Mary is survived by her husband of 64 years, Wm. Harold Merritt, daughters, Angela Wojtanowski of Sarasota, FL, and Amy (Jeffrey) Taylor of Philadelphia, PA, six grandchildren; Loren (Matthew) Ellis-Rattner of San Diego, CA, Kimberly Ellis of New Orleans, LA, Zoe Taylor of Philadelphia, PA, Brianna (Allan) Lawton and Dylan Briggs of Bolton, CT, Isaac Schmitz of Sarasota, FL, and six great-grandchildren. She is also survived by three sisters and one brother.
Mary was born June 27, 1937, in Sparta, TN to her parents James Porter Teeple and Nancy Bernetta Hall Teeple, into a family of 12 children. Mary attended White County High School where she was a Majorette in the school marching band, was honored with being Miss White County High, 4-H Club award recipient and was a D.A.R. Medalist.
She attended Tennessee Tech University where she was an active and enthusiastic school participant. She was Treasurer of the Tech Women’s Organization, Class Officer, ROTC Sponsor, Secretary and Treasurer of the Tech Christian Association, Spring Queen, Class Beauty, Miss Home Economics, editor of the college yearbook, attendant to the Engineers Queen two years, member of the May Day Court and was also ROTC Queen.
Mary met her future husband while attending Tennessee Tech. They were married on June 5, 1959, and moved to Chattanooga, TN where their two daughters were born.
Over the years, Mary was involved with many volunteer organizations including the Head Start Program, the Canton (CT) Historical Society, and was the founding member of the Canton (CT) Newcomers’ Club. She was also an avid tennis player for over 50 years, winning many state and international tournaments and remained very active into her early 80’s.
Mary was a member of the South Trail Church of Christ in Sarasota. She will be interred at the Old Zion Cemetery in Sparta, Tennessee.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites donations in Mary’s memory to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (Curealz.org/giving/donate).