Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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MaryAnn Merkel

MaryAnn Merkel, age 90, died at the Chelsea Retirement Community, Towsley Village in Chelsea, Michigan on November 14, 2019. MaryAnn was born December 4, 1928 in Covington, Kentucky, one of six siblings born to Judge Robert J. & Eleanor Glenn Gabel.

Upon graduation from high school in Fremont, Ohio, she attended Mercy College of Nursing in Detroit where she received her degree in nursing. She met her life partner on a blind date in Ann Arbor, MI, and  on September 13, 1952, she married John W. (Jack) Merkel. Together they made their home in Chelsea for the past 67 years.

After nursing, MaryAnn enjoyed a second career as an interior designer at the local family business, Merkel’s Furniture & Carpet One, where she developed many loyal customers.

She is survived by her devoted husband, Jack; sons, John, Tim (Anne), Dan (Candace), Matt (Elise) and Richard (Christine); her grandchildren, Brian, George, Charlie, Daniel, Molly, Lauren, Lucy, Helen and Tomas; and one great-grandchild, Gunnar. She is also survived by one brother, James (Jane) Gabel, brothers-in-law, Robert (Barbara) Merkel and Patrick (Sandra) Merkel, and many, many nieces and nephews. She also leaves behind her friend and companion, Irene Nickels, and longtime best friend, Daphne Hodder. MaryAnn was predeceased by her parents, brothers, Glen, Richard, Dennis, her sister, Martha, and her daughter-in-law, Sayra.

MaryAnn very quickly adopted Chelsea as her hometown and started working to make this community a better place for all to live. The groups she was involved with are too numerous to mention, but include the Chelsea Childrens’ Co-op Preschool, the Child Study Club, Church Women United/Meals on Wheels, Chelsea Community Chest/United Way, Faith in Action, Adult Learners Institute, Spectrum Prevention Human Services, Chelsea Community Hospital, and the St. Mary parish community. She also participated for 65 years in the Harvard Nurses Study, which researched many aspects of nurses’ lives and their health.

An avid tennis player, skier, bridge partner, and traveler, MaryAnn lived life to the fullest.  She was a voracious reader and very astute regarding current affairs. Noting her numerous contributions above, she believed firmly in acting locally in order to make the world a better place. She took great joy in her immediate and extended family, and she enjoyed nothing more than a large, festive gathering with family and friends. This love for her family, friends, and community were reflected in the way she lived her life.

Visitation will be at Staffan-Mitchell Funeral Home on Thursday, December 5, from 3-5 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary of Chelsea on Friday, December 6, 2019. Family will greet friends at the church at 10 a.m. The service will begin at 11:00 a.m. The family will host a luncheon after the service in the parish hall. Private interment will occur at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to Faith in Action and St. Louis Center. Arrangements by Staffan-Mitchell Funeral Home, Chelsea.


0 #5 Walter F Hamilton 2019-11-28 14:00
She is in Heaven, that dear friend of ours. Prayers with the family. Wonderful memories of so many good days with her. Walt & Peg
0 #4 Michael D. McIntosh 2019-11-20 22:24
MaryAnn understood actions speak louder than words. Her depth of kindness, generosity, and concern for others was immense. She always took time to listen and for myself was a deep resource of knowledge on life. MaryAnne embraced life and in the process enriched the lives of many. Her level of empathy was incredible. My condolences to her family and friends.
0 #3 Rayma Smith Adkisson 2019-11-18 21:37
Chelsea was made a better place by the Merkel family and MaryAnn's contributions will always be appreciated by so many. My condolences to all the family. She will be missed.
0 #2 BruceKaren Galbraith 2019-11-16 19:16
Our years in Chelsea were enriched by knowing the Merkels. Rest In Peace child of God.
0 #1 barbara Ruth 2019-11-16 14:58
We are so sad for the passing of Mary Ann, our prayers are with the family. Love, Ron and Barbara Ruth

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